Eat the Issue will hold its third event, this time in collaboration with Blackhearts & Sparrows’ Richmond store, on 17 September. The evening will see four guest speakers from different sectors of hospitality come together to share their ideas about how to create a better mental health culture in the industry.
A panel discuession will include Nick Stanton (Leonardo’s Pizza Palace), Tim Perrin (Oakridge Wines), Nina Jones (Francesca’s), Rosheen Kaul (Dinner By Heston Blumenthal), with guests invited to join the evening’s conversation while the crew from Dexter Melbourne (also Cheek, Peaches and Takeaway Pizza) dish up specialty finger food.
Proceeds from the event will be donated to Scarf Community. Scarf is a social enterprise that uses hospitality to transform the lives of young people seeking protection, and those from refugee and migrant backgrounds that face barriers to work.
Chef George Wintle (Oakridge Wines) launched Eat the Issue in October 2018, kicking off with a fundraising event in partnership with Melbourne restaurant Lee Ho Fook, which sold out. A second sold out event took place in earlier this year at Melbourne rooftop bar Peaches.
Both campaigns donated proceeds to HEAT (Hospitality Employment and Education), a six-month program that offers kitchen operation training, career guidance, and ongoing counselling, empowering young workers (aged 16-25) to kickstart their career in the hospitality industry.
For Wintle, Eat the Issue isn’t a static concept, instead it’s ever-changing. “This is a platform where even I am learning so much about the industry,” he says. “[So], how I project Eat The Issue to the public will be different each time. I have always wanted our events to be informative and approachable for everyone. My soul aim is to…have a non-pretentious and natural conversation about [mental health].”
With his next event, Wintle hopes to focus on what action is needed to make the food and beverage industry a mentally safe place.
“I was recently chatting with a friend about how people in the food and beverage industries aren’t just numbers anymore,” says Wintle. “We need to begin having more of a personal connection with the people we work with and take into account that no two people are the same. I have heard of restaurants implementing mental health plans, where staff can approach managers when they find themselves to be struggling. Together, they find alternatives and ways to accommodate to certain needs.”
Image: Chocolates by Lauren Eldridge. Photograpy: Charlie Ashfield