As a journalist, some stories’ headlines are just too good to pass up. So, it is with this tale of a chef who couldn’t stand the heat and so, got out of the kitchen.
The original report appeared in the Jersey Evening Post, the paper serves the island of Jersey in St. George’s Channel off England’s south coast with population of about 100,000. Apart from being known as a tax haven, tourism is a big industry for the island and work in the hospitality trade is seasonal.
The chef in question, one Artur Sumera had brought a case against his former employer Atlantique Seafood, which trades as Soy Sushi restaurant, for unpaid wages and overtime when he claimed that the kitchen’s ventilation system broke down on July the 3rd.
Although Sumera worked the lunch shift that day, five minutes before his evening shift, he texted his employer to say that the kitchen was too hot and the conditions had given him a nose bleed and that he was taking a half day, using his time in lieu from his overtime worked.
It didn’t quite work out for Sumera as Hilary Griffin, chairwoman of the tribunal found in favour of his former employer and refused his claim. His employer claimed to have provided two fans in the kitchen the day the ventilation system broke and that all four windows in the kitchen were opened.
Chefs are well known to put up with tough working conditions, pulling through all kinds of adversity to make sure service gets done. However, a chef’s well-being is his or her own responsibility and at some point, chefs have to say “enough is enough”. Sometimes if the heat really is too much, you really should get out of the kitchen.
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