On World Mental Health Day, industry-led initiative #FairKitchens is shining a light on the impact working in hospitality has on wellbeing.

Research from the organisation found globally 74 percent of chefs feel sleep deprived to the point of exhaustion; 1 in 4 chefs have suffered physical abuse; and 53 percent of chefs feel pushed to breaking point.

The #FairKitchens initiative launched with the aim of helping restaurants to build a more positive kitchen culture, a happier working environment and a healthier business. Hog’s Breath Cafe was one of the first to join the initiative in Australia.

“A professional kitchen can be a pressure cooker of factors that can negatively impact mental health. With the increase of divorce, separation, depression and stress in the industry it is more important than ever to bring teams together. Kitchens are like families as we spend so much time together,” says John Alexander, corporate executive chef, Hog’s Breath Café (pictured).

“The hospitality industry desperately needs measures that protect chefs and employees. For me, it’s about bringing everyone together around food, and ensuring I create a safe space for people to talk informally and free from judgement.

“A stronger kitchen will be a happier kitchen. By being a part of a bigger network, there is more support. I think #FairKitchens speaks clearly to what the industry needs. It’s not prescriptive or too much to handle, it’s empowering and provides access to online resources, helping me move people on a challenging issue in the best way.”

The #FairKitchens initiative directly involves chefs and restaurants owners and provides tools and resources to help inspire action.


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