Thursday 25 April 1996 00:00
Every year the silly season comes around and however well you have planned for it, you know that sooner or later you will be back up the river without a paddle.
I refer, of course, to staffing problems. It happened last year and the year before. One or two key players moved on to further their careers and it took months to find and train up their replacements.
In the meantime, everything becomes a little more strained and we hope that nothing will snap.
Bruce was such a replacement two years ago. He joined us after three years at college and a year spent working in a local pub learning what work was about.
It took Bruce time to settle down. As commis chef he suddenly had responsibilities to himself and others. He had to work a lot faster, do things our way, get to work on time, and make sure he took the correct day off.
In these two years he has learnt a great deal, not least about himself and the fact that he really wants to be a chef. It is as a consequence of his growth and ability that we will miss him so much when he leaves shortly.
We have known for six months that he would be going but that has not made it easier to find a replacement. He has set new standards for his job.
He is joining Rascasse in Leeds and no doubt will commence a new learning curve that will enhance his career. We will look forward to his returning to tell us how he is getting on.
The other important person we are losing is Michael, a kitchen porter who has been with us for three years.
Everyone at the Angel became Michael’s family. It is only in a family that anyone could give and take as much as he did.
He is the type of person that we all need one of! He has been a bit of a stooge, saving others from abuse while readily taking it himself. He definitely tested our systems and found them wanting. His use of the washer and dryer at weekends drove us mad.
Now that he’s going we’ll miss him terribly. Where else will we find someone who will work when others won’t, work the hours he would, do the jobs he did and take all the stick?
Michael is joining the army and he’ll probably end up with a VC. You have to be mad to do that! He’ll come back to see us because we’re his family – and so we should be too.
Originally published in the Caterer and Hotelkeeper Thursday 25 April 1996
Bruce Elsworth is now Executive Chef Director at the Angel Inn.