By the industry, for the industry
PX+ Festival is a weekend-long event for the people who dedicate their lives to the culinary experiences of others: an opportunity to pause, reflect and celebrate
A catalyst for change
The PX+ Festival is a spark to launch real change – not only to the way we work, but also how we support and look out for each other.
Idealistic, yes. Impossible, no. Oscar Harding, at Duchess Rapeseed Oil, is already working hard to change attitudes to farmers and lead a new generation in his profession, working in collaboration with others rather than in competition. We would love to see this innovative way of thinking applied across the industry: the starred, the casual dining, the branded, the independents, the street food vendors, the suppliers, the producers and the farmers, the whole delicious melting pot of creative, talented, passionate people.
We believe hospitality is about everyone in the industry, not just the celebrated few. Do we really need to continue to perpetuate the obsession for the best of everything, THE best chef in the world, THE best restaurant in the world? We are not sportspeople in a competitive race to get to the finish line, to be the only one on the podium in first place. There is room for every cuisine, every cocktail and every coffee bean to be celebrated.
Everyone is working flat out, trying to sustain successful businesses but we rarely have the chance to come together, take stock and offer support to each other. The very nature of our industry is to be hospitable, and this should extend to the way we treat our teams, our guests, our fellow restaurateurs and our suppliers.
We would like to grow a community that supports rather than competes with each other. While we keep others sustained with food and drink, our teams consistently face the risk of crashing and burning. Together we need to improve and we need to change the way we do things. It’s time to raise the bar.We have a responsibility to recognize what is broken in our industry, fix the bits we need to, and set a new course. A chance to talk honestly about how hospitable the hospitality business really is, is long overdue. Is it right that some celebrity chefs expect endless free stocks of kitchen equipment, chef shoes and aprons? Would we treat our wine producers or plate suppliers the same?
Meanwhile, we are getting a hell of a lot of bad press - long working hours, service charge, abuse in restaurants, unhealthy lifestyles, and substance and alcohol dependency all regularly feature in news reports. Add to that tough and uncertain trading conditions and we are in the middle of a rocky time.It’s now time to change, to look at where we are and how we move forward. Landscapes are changing all around us: food, society, economics, climates – if we don’t stop and discuss what direction our industry should take, and how, and why, we risk the change happening to us, rather than being the drivers of the future of our own industry. What do we want to look like in five years? In fact, what do we want to look like in 18 months?