A CHARITY whose three kitchens can feed up to 250 people a day says a national shortage of chefs is holding back plans to improve their offer.

The Ambleside-based Brathay Trust, which provides youth services and professional development programmes, has been trying to recruit two chefs and an apprentice since the start of the year.

Brathay business manager Judith Wren claimed this was part of a national problem.

“Earlier in the year VisitEngland reported that nearly half (47 per cent) of vacancies for chefs proved difficult to fill due to a lack of skilled applicants," she said. "They also said that chefs made up a fifth (21 per cent) of all skill shortage vacancies for skilled trades, suggesting that businesses are struggling to recruit the skilled chefs they need. This has certainly been our experience.

“We’ve got all the right ingredients to attract good candidates - sociable working hours, accommodation and a jaw-dropping location to work.

"As a young person’s charity and a leader in apprentice development, we would love to see a young person flourish as our apprentice chef.

“Having the right number of chefs would mean we could continue to develop the food offering to meet the needs of a very varied customer base. In any one day that could be senior executives from a blue chip company hoping for croque en bouche and crème brulee to teenagers, far from home, with hearty appetites and wanting familiar food like pizza and chocolate mousse."

Anyone interested in finding out more can contact Judith Wren or guest services manager Natasha Dalton on 015394 33041 or email reception@brathay.org.uk