Marcus Wareing: ‘I have no clue how social distancing in kitchens will work’


Acclaimed chef Marcus Wareing admits he harbours grave concerns over how to deal with social distancing in kitchens as he expressed his fears for the industry’s future following Boris Johnson’s address to the nation.

Some hospitality businesses could open in July at the earliest, according to the prime minister’s speech last night, but it remains to be seen how viable it will be for restaurants to operate under increased safety measures.

In an interview with Sky News, Mr Wareing said he feared for what lies ahead after hearing Mr Johnson’s address.

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“I thought it was a perfect opportunity to give us a little bit more meat on the bone, it would have been nice to have a bit more from him about the big picture. I am incredibly nervous about the future, I have no clue how to deal with social distancing in a kitchen or in hospitality.

“For me and my colleagues in the industry, we need some guidelines and we need it soon. We can’t sit at home just hoping we may get some titbits of information to show us how to go forward.

“We are very concerned – we were the first to close down and we’re going to be the last to reopen. I’m worried for my own health and my staff and customers, it’s really a scary thing to think we’re going to have to go to work in a kitchen which is very much an open playing field where staff are very much a team, they’re connecting with each other, they’re tasting food.

“You’re putting food on a plate which gets carried by a waiter and that food is then put in front of the customer. Social distancing does not work in hospitality.”

Mr Wareing, who is chef patron at Marcus in London, said restaurants work on very small margins and if social distancing meant opening up with 50% capacity or less it would be extremely difficult to survive.

He also called on the government to “take on some leaders of our industry, get them into government, we need to talk about how we can move forward”.

“My industry wants to go back to work, we can do this, but we need clear guidelines and it needs to come from above,” Mr Waring told Sky.

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Tags : coronaviruskitchensMarcus Wareingsocial distancing
Andrew Seymour

The author Andrew Seymour


  1. Social Distancing will of course be a challenge in many UK kitchens, hence why its so important that operators use this time to look at how they can arrange their kitchens and invest in equipment that allows for practical and safe social distancing measures to be followed.

    One major part of a commercial kitchen is of course the washing up area – an area that can be designed with social distancing in mind, for example, by investing in Wexiödisk’s PRM and sorting unit – two solutions which eradicate the need for pre-rinsing/sorting by hand, which in turn minimises the need for groups of staff to be in the warewashing area at one time.

    For example, with the PRM, the kitchen porter that is bringing dirty washware back to the wash up zone simply needs to place the items directly in to the wash rack, and once filled, push these into the PRM which automatically takes care of an outstandingly thorough pre-rinse process. On the clean side of the washing zone – which can be many metres apart from the dirty zone if an operator wishes – another member of staff can then take responsibility of the clean baskets of crockery/cutlery etc.
    By assigning these warewashing tasks to two separate members of staff, operators will in turn be preventing the need for a single person to keep switching between the clean and dirty side of the washing area, which of course minimises the risk of cross contamination.

    If any operator/dealer is looking for further help or advice on making their washing area suitable for social distancing, please email me at

  2. I Agree with Marcus so many kitchens are so small that you cannot avoid contact. The health and safety of the chefs must be considered. As a chef myself i have worked in kitchens were contact was common place i really worry for these chefs. Plus as a customer i would want to know if the team had been tested for Covid 19. Lets put safety before profit.

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