Like many hospitality businesses across the UK, Parkdean Resorts felt the pinch of staff shortages after the Covid-19 lockdowns. This industry-wide challenge, confronted many businesses with the difficult decision to either limit their offering or close down branches. Providing guests with the full holiday experience across as many locations as possible, was key to Parkdean’s core values, so for them another solution was needed.
This is where Vira UK stepped in, with an expert team of immigration consultants specialising in the hospitality industry. Vira began the recruitment process for Parkdean Resorts towards the end of 2021, connecting them with skilled chefs from India to fill positions from CDP right through to Head Chef. By February 2022, the first Vira chefs had arrived at Parkdean resorts across the UK. Since then, 51 new Vira chefs have taken positions at Parkdean, strengthening the kitchen teams while also adding to their cultural richness and diversity.
This April just before the summer season swings into action, Parkdean Resorts welcomed 14 new Vira chefs to the UK teams with an orientation week at the resort location at Clacton-on-sea, to begin their immersion into UK culture. Here they learnt everything that they should expect from life in the UK and work at Parkdean; from basic kitchen health & safety, the importance of good British fish & chips, and how to aptly prepare for the UK weather.
Talent Development Manager at Parkdean, Laura Brett, oversees this entire orientation week ensuring the new chefs are fully equipped for this next step in their career. Having been involved in the orientations since the start of their partnership with Vira, Brett explained how this process has been fine-tuned over the years. As many chefs are in the UK for the first time and getting ready to start their new lives, the initial cultural shock can raise unexpected challenges. The induction process has become more comprehensive, ensuring it’s not just the chefs who are prepared but also the existing staff at the resort restaurants.
As a result, Vira chefs stay on for future seasons, and in many cases are promoted within their teams as they settle into life in the UK with their families and integrate into the local communities. Brett remarked on how rewarding it has been, “knowing that (Vira chefs) are achieving their personal goals whilst helping us meet our business needs”. They have witnessed the teams flourish with the added diversity, as Brett fondly recalled the home-cooked Indian meals she had been gifted upon visiting Vira chefs at the various resorts across the UK.
Vira chefs have become an invaluable addition to the Parkdean teams, strengthening kitchens and playing a crucial role in ensuring Parkdean’s standards are met in delivering the Park F&B brands. The orientation week highlights how successful this relationship has been and Parkdean’s dedication to ensuring success for the Vira Chefs.