WE HAVE CHEFS: Irish brothers' new business addresses international shortage of kitchen staff

WE HAVE CHEFS: Irish brothers' new business addresses international shortage of kitchen staff

A NEW business has emerged in response to the shortage of labour in the hospitality industry.

WeHaveChefs recruits chefs from southeast Asia and places them where they’re needed in the kitchens of restaurants across Ireland and Britain.

The chefs are all trained to international standard, ranging from Chef de Partie to Executive Head Chef.

WeHaveChefs has been set up by brothers Paddy and Rowan Lynn who have extensive knowledge in the hospitality trade.

Both lads are English-born, Paddy in Oxford and Rowan in Colchester, to a county Armagh mother, who hails from Camlough.

The boys moved back to Ireland as toddlers where they were brought up.

Paddy, who is the CEO of the business, is based in county Louth.

He formerly worked as a restaurant manager in a busy city centre restaurant in Dublin for more than ten years, while Rowan, who is Head of Recruitment and Training, lives in Thailand and previously trained under Irish celebrity chef Kevin Thornton.

The company has already secured places in Ireland for scores of chefs from Asia.

Paddy confirms: “WeHaveChefs has a never-ending supply of quality non-EU Chefs.”

However, the work permit approval-time in Ireland is proving an obstacle, as the hospitality sector struggles to recover from the pandemic.

Work permits are slow to be processed, as backlogs have built during Covid-19 lockdowns.

He believes that the restaurant trade has taken such a hammering over the last two years that a special case should be made to provide work permits and resident visas as quickly as possible.

The Irishman has even advised his clients to write to the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment and their local parliamentary representatives to implore them to expedite the issuing of the relevant paperwork required to work in Irish restaurants and hotels.

“I’m far from comfortable asking that our applications be moved to the front of any queue but considering the heavy backlog and prioritising of Finance and IT applications; it is my obligation as a hospitality champion to argue our corner and seek the early expediting of desperately needed chef applications, most kitchens are functioning at half-mast due to lack of chefs,” Paddy told The Irish Post.

The situation is broadly similar in the UK, despite its now being outside the EU.

WeHaveChefs charge a commission of 15 per cent on the chef’s first full year salary.

The chefs are placed and legally committed to the employer for two years on the basis of a minimum salary of €30,000.

Minimum salary in the UK is £25,600.