A new initiative launched by writer Kat Kinsman in partnership with some of the world’s best chefs and Unilever Food Solutions aims to make kitchens the world over fairer, healthier and happier places to work, and put an end to the damaging kitchen culture that has in some cases led to chefs losing their lives.
#FairKitchens is described on its website as “A movement of chefs supporting chefs to inspire a new kitchen culture.” The initiative is being promoted via social media and kicked off on 29 May with kitchen teams being asked to take “An Hour for Us” – to stop what they were doing and discuss a proposed code of conduct that would encourage kitchens to be more open and unified.
Kinsman of runs the ChefsWithIssues website, a resource for chefs struggling with the physical and mental toll of the job, and has spoken previously about how kitchen culture needs to change or more chefs will die – watch below.
A recent survey by Unilever Food Solutions reported 63% of chefs having experienced depression, 74% having felt sleep deprived to the point of of exhaustion, 53% having felt pushed to breaking point and one in four having suffered physical abuse at work. It also found that 60% of young chefs felt there was little possibility for career progression, while 34% of chefs felt under appreciated on a daily basis.
A number of high profile chefs have lent their weight to the campaign, including Ludo Lefebvre and Michael Gulotta. It’s generally felt that changing kitchen culture would be one way to tackle the industry’s growing chefs shortage.
Staff shortages are hitting the hospitality sector hard, prompting some restaurants to look outside the industry to train those without restaurant experience for life in the kitchen. Andrew Friedman finds out more.