One of the big topics at this year's Food on the Edge Symposium in Galway, Ireland was mental health in the restaurant industry, particularly in kitchens, with many speakers sharing their personal experiences.
One of those wasAnna Haugh, until recently Executive Chef at London’s Bob Bob Ricard and has previously worked under the likes of Gordon Ramsayand Phil Howard. She's spent time in hard kitchens and has witnessed others suffer workplace bullying and mental health issues first hand.
Luckily for her, she says, she has a strong support network of family and friends to fall back on, but the culture of silence in kitchens, whether with regards to bullying or mental health, for fear of the consequences, has to change if the industry is to attract and retain the best chefs, she argues.
“Respect breeds respect, bullying breeds bullying … There's not enough kindness in kitchens. Every great chef should be kind and strong,” she says. A better social infrastructure within kitchens is needed, especially when it comes to tackling issues like substance abuse. “As a young chef you do often feel unheard."
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