The Italian culinary landscape is under scrutiny as 2023 draws to a close. The industry's concerns, voiced by chef and consultant Fabio Tammaro and the Order of Waiters and Cooks a la Carte (Occa), focus primarily on the quality of work and remuneration within the sector.
The Crisis in Quality and Passion
Tammaro criticizes the mediocrity of kitchen workers, citing a lack of fundamentals, recipes known by heart, and proper management of stock and purchases. The sector is grappling with a crisis of professionalism and passion, exacerbated by a work model that leaves employees barely living beyond their jobs due to low wages and exhausting shifts.
The Minimum Wage Controversy
The recent law proposal on minimum wage, approved by the Italian Chamber without a threshold of 9 euros, has sparked further debate. The Italian Federation of Public Establishments (Fipe) contends that wages in the sector are already above the proposed minimum wage. However, there are accounts of employees who have been waiting for wage adjustments for months.
Need for Valuation and Better Working Conditions
Some comments underscore the necessity of better valuing staff and improving the quality of work-life to attract and retain qualified professionals. Piero Pompili, dining room manager of the Al Cambio restaurant in Bologna, predicts that many restaurants could disappear in the next five years due to a lack of qualified staff. He emphasizes the importance of enhancing working conditions to ensure employee wellbeing.
As the hospitality industry navigates this turbulent period, the need for a shift in the perception and treatment of its workers is paramount. Only by addressing these foundational issues can the sector hope to survive and thrive in the coming years.