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Elise Kornack: 'Reviews Obsession Drove Me to the Edge'

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Increasingly, chefs are opening up about their battles with mental health. Hopefully, the candidness displayed by the likes of Daniel Patterson and Chris Cosentino will have a trickle down effect for everyone in the industry.

Chef Elise Kornack, who recently shuttered her tiny, but acclaimed New York restaurant Take Root, chose this year’s Food on the Edge symposium to discuss her battles with mental health publicly for the first time.

In her speech, the James Beard-nominated chef describes how her growing obsession with recognition and reviews, and how she stacked up compared to other chefs and restaurants, to the detriment of her cooking, had eventually triggered a full nervous breakdown, at a time when she was also dealing with her own mother’s mental illness.

Now relocated to Upstate New York and planning her next restaurant project, Kornack ends her speech with some advice for restaurants on how to improve staff mental health and create better working environments. The key is breaking down the stigma of mental illness in restaurants, "nothing to be ahsmed of," she says. 

Watch the video above.

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