YOUNG Irish chefs are getting out of the kitchen because they can't handle the heat, according to one of our most successful chefs.
Restaurateurs claim that the country is facing a crisis as a result of a shortage in the numbers of chefs.
The Restaurant Association of Ireland has claimed that not enough chefs are coming through the ranks and agencies such as Fas, Skillsnets and Failte Ireland do not understand the extent of the problem.
But celebrity chef Derry Clarke believes there are much bigger issues in the melting pot than just the lack of training.
He says that too many qualified chefs are leaving these shores because they can't handle the pressure of fast-paced Irish kitchens.
Mr Clarke, who co-owns the Michelin star L'Ecrivain restaurant in Dublin's city centre, feels that aspiring chefs cannot withstand the pressure in the kitchen and this is the cause for the " big drop-out rate".
"I had one chef who recently moved to Australia and she said that from 38 people in her class, only four are still working as chefs.
"A lot of the people can't handle the deadlines," he said.
"But I would love to see more people getting into the business," added the top chef.
According to Mr Clarke (55), the rate of people leaving the country to work abroad is the main reason for this chef shortage and it is hard to find a good chef these days.
"A lot of good chefs are leaving us and have been going to countries like Australia over the last three or four years," Mr Clarke told the Herald.
"People who are trained are leaving to go and travel and new chefs are not coming in fast enough.
"It is definitely very hard to find a good chef these days," he added.
The shortage of chefs throughout the country was highlighted by Adrian Cummins, chief executive of the Restaurant Association of Ireland (RAI), who laid the blame for the issue on the lack of training courses.