Leeds pro chef says industry is 'crying out for talent' as he takes over The Tetley Bar and Kitchen
It's no secret that being a chef is a gruelling job.
With late nights, long hours and working under the heat of the kitchen - it requires a lot of dedication and discipline.
The new head chef of The Tetley Bar and Kitchen says the industry is "crying out for talent" as a result of the pandemic, with vacancies to fill at restaurants across the city.
Connaire Moran says for those who are willing to put the time in, the rewards will pay off - and he wouldn't work in any other industry.
“The pandemic is the worst thing that’s ever happened, the industry is crying out for talent,” Connaire, 31, told the Yorkshire Evening Post.
“It was already difficult, but people have fallen out of love with the industry for whatever reason.
“Sometimes what’s missing is dedication and the understanding that you have to do things you don’t want to sometimes. You are going to be on your feet a lot of the time.
"But you have to take the rough with the smooth - and the smooth is amazing. You get so many opportunities, but you have to put the time in.”
Connaire has dedication in bucket-loads. After winning a school cooking competition, the Rotherham-born chef set his sights on working at a top kitchen.
He scooped a job at Rick Stein's during catering college, before moving to Leeds to join high-end British kitchen Anthony's when he was 18.
“I always knew I wanted to work in that calibre of high-end restaurant," Connaire added.
He later expanded his culinary repertoire while travelling in South Asia, where he fell in love with the spices and flavours in the food.
“I was based in Malaysia which was amazing," Connaire said.
"Singapore has a great brunch scene which I took inspiration from, while Vietnam has a strong French influence so there’s a fantastic fusion of flavours. And the country itself is just beautiful.
“I’ve definitely taken elements and flavours from the dishes.”
Back in Leeds, Connaire worked at Stockdales of Yorkshire and The Mavern before joining Kirkgate Market gastropub The Owl when it reopened in 2019.
He's excited for his next venture as the new head chef at The Tetley Bar and Kitchen, which donates 100 per cent of its income to support the venue's artistic programme.
Connaire has brought in new dishes inspired by cuisine from around the world, alongside Tetley's speciality British classics.
The brunch-focused menu includes a Turkish eggs dish, a hearty fry up and a traditional ox cheek served with cornbread and a sriracha hollandaise.
Connaire added: “It’s fresh, simple and looks nice on the plate; something that is familiar to everyone but with my own take on it. I’m looking forward to the collaborations with the artistic side of the venue, but at the same time focusing on the food.
"My passion is all about using hyper-local ingredients and sustainability and I love the fact that's echoed at The Tetley - whether that’s creating partnerships with independent farmers and growers, or finding a little spot somewhere where we can produce food.
"That’s what every restaurant should be like, going back to how things used to be.”
Support the YEP and become a subscriber today. Enjoy unlimited access to local news and the latest on Leeds United, With a digital subscription, you see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Click here to subscribe.