Tom Kerridge looks deeper into 'The Hidden World of Hospitality'

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Thursday: The Hidden World of Hospitality with Tom Kerridge (BBC Two, 8pm)

Britain’s hospitality industry is a vast sector – it generates over £40 billion per year, employs 1.8 million people, and plays a vital role at the heart of communities up and down the country.

But although it plays a major role in our lives, many of us have no idea what goes on behind the scenes of the UK’s pubs, restaurants, hotels, breweries, chippies and more.

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Over the past few weeks, chef Tom Kerridge – the proud holder of three Michelin stars and no stranger to hard kitchen graft – has been lifting the lid on the industry he knows and loves, meeting the skilled and passionate professionals driving it forward and the risks they are taking to put a smile on our faces.

Tom KerridgeTom Kerridge
Tom Kerridge

In an interview with What To Watch, Salisbury-born Tom, who turned 50 last month, explained why he thinks the programme is important.

“I don’t think hospitality is seen as a dedicated true profession in this country,” he said. “Not like it is in Europe or the States; yet it’s amazing and exciting so I want to showcase that.

“Customers rarely see behind the scenes so I want to show how we operate, the gambles we take, the huge challenges we face and the fun we have.

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“It’s not about me solving problems. I go behind-the-scenes of dramatically different businesses – from swanky hotels and burger bars to a barbecue shack and ice cream parlour – and have a brutally honest look at what’s going on.

“It’ll help viewers understand the passion that goes into hospitality but also the pressures.”

After looking at the competitive world of fine dining and meeting entrepreneurs looking to expand their businesses during challenging economic conditions, Tom now turns the spotlight on staffing.

Despite a UK-wide recruitment crisis, Tom discovers how some businesses are finding clever ways to build and retain strong, effective teams.

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In London’s Docklands, an innovative floating hotel is pioneering an on-the-job training scheme designed to help local unemployed people take their first steps into hospitality.

Founder, Marten brought the barge-hotel across from Amsterdam and its now moored in the London borough of Newham, an area with some of the highest unemployment in England.

Alice and Sinead, two new trainees, are learning the ropes in the public-facing food and beverage department.

With new processes and terminology to learn, their journey will not be easy but having a patient and supportive mentor could make all the difference.

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In Tom’s Marlow-based restaurant, The Coach, head chef Sarah takes young apprentice, Rhianna, under her wing.

Straight out of school, Rhianna is blossoming in the fast-paced environment of a Michelin-starred kitchen, and Tom sees similarities with his own experiences as a youngster starting out in the industry.

In South Shields, local institution Colman’s, relies on a tightly-knit team working together in harmony to keep their loyal regulars happy.

The century-old fish and chip shop has been in the same family for five generations and the secret to their success lies in making staff and customers feel part of one big family.

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Finally, we see Tom’s event catering company take on one of the most prestigious and pressurised gigs of the year, to provide high quality food to the luxury superyachts for the Monaco Grand Prix.

Tom assembles his best staff from across all his businesses, as one mistake could put his – and the UK’s – reputation on the line.