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A chef under 30: “I just wanted someone with energy”

by on November 21, 2014

This article in The Advertiser (an Adelaide based news website) reports an advert that appeared locally for a chef stipulating that they must be ‘under 30’.

According to the item, the chef who placed the ad explained his thinking by saying that he used the phrase ‘under 30’ to reflect the fact that he ‘just wanted someone with energy’.  So younger chronological age is used as a shorthand for energy at work. Unsurprisingly, this is said to breach the age discrimination laws of South Australia.

Closer to home, and catching up on a couple of episodes of Masterchef The Professionals this week, I noticed how age (usually younger age) is mentioned quite a lot in sections of the programme when new contestants are introducing themselves. Also when the judges are talking about them. Young age (and some of the contenders are in their early 20s) seems to be spoken about by the judges as justifying or excusing arrogance but also (by judges and contestsants alike) as representing potentiality. Having started a career as a chef at a slightly older age (like 24) seems to need special mention and explanation. Much is made of the fact that Marcus Wareing was awarded his first Michelin star was he was in his 20s. I’m guessing that age norms are quite strong in this occupational group.


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