Rude customers and overly-fussy residents have burned one Wagga chef’s 23-year-long passion.
But Clayton Kindleysides said he was not alone, with a number of chefs now turning from the trade.
It follows a chronic skills shortage reveal across the hospitality sector, according to a landmark report.
The TAFE NSW-lead research this week found staff deficits in healthcare, building and construction, hospitality and manufacturing industries across three years were concerning Riverina employers.
With the region’s workforce set to grow 1443 positions before 2021, the number of aged or disabled carers, childcare workers, project builders, early childhood teachers and chefs have been tipped to increase the most.
But unless something changed within the food industry as as whole, Mr Kindleysides said more cooks would leave the Wagga’s kitchens.
The 46-year-old told The Daily Advertiser his reasons for changing professions were not unique.
“I got fed up with people,” Mr Kindleysides said. “You start feelings like a servant.”
He said it was not always the case, not everyone was rude and the job had cooked up some good times.
But he said as an apprentice diesel mechanic, he was earning about the same amount.
He said community pressure to lower food costs, put pressure on employers and managers, who would then lower wages.
Another issue was the sacrifices chefs made, juggling weekend and nighttime shifts.
He said the awkward hours meant many hospitality workers were left to watch their children grow up from a distance.
Business Chamber president Danielle Pascoe said there would be no easy fix to the skills shortage boom across the region.
Mrs Pascoe said a number of training bodies and businesses were seeking to combat the loss of talent and working to stimulate interest across industries of concern.
Meanwhile, the report also projected a boom in early childhood teachers, project builders, commercial housekeepers, management consultants and fitness instructors across three years.