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Welcome to August’s Observer Food Monthly

Our special restaurants issue brings back memories of my own happy, exhausting years working in the industry

All I ever wanted was to feed people; to bring them something good to eat, to offer a drink; make them feel comfy and replete. I spent years waiting table, working front of house in hotels, country inns, cafes and a hotel restaurant. There wasn’t a day I didn’t collapse into bed, exhausted and happy. Don’t be surprised if I come to your table with a menu one day. A job I enjoyed so much I could return in a heartbeat.

Our restaurants are in something of a crisis. We have the talent in the kitchen and front of house but not enough to go around. There’s a shortage of chefs and waiting staff, baristas and kitchen porters. Professionals who have left the country because of Brexit; some who have simply decided not to go back to the industry after their furlough. Others have left because the places they owned or worked at couldn’t survive the months of pandemic-induced closure.

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