Established chefs will begin counseling emerging hospitality talent under Food for Thought’s new Sydney-based mentoring program.

The program is one of many initiatives Food for Thought is set to introduce during a number of events scheduled for November.

All money raised by Food for Thought from 2018 will go R U OK? and LifeLine Australia.

Food for Thought was founded by Mal Meiers in 2014. Since its establishment, the Food for Thought’s annual charity dinners have seen emerging and talented hospitality professionals work together to create meals that encourage conversation to ease stigma around mental health.

“As an industry, we need work together to break down the stigma surrounding mental health,” Meiers tells Hospitality. “We also need to be working together to create better ways of managing and dealing with it. By bringing together established chefs and industry leaders, I wanted to show that as an industry, we are ready to create a unified front.”

The Sydney event will see executive and head chefs from venues such as Quay, Bennelong, Aria and Icebergs mentoring Food for Thought chefs. Mentors Justin North (Concept Hospitality), Rob Cockerill (Bennelong), Joel Bickford (Aria), Monty Koludrovic (Icebergs), Rob Kabboord (Quay), Hamish Ingham (Banksii) and Jane Strode will work with Food for Thought chefs Paul Farag (Fish Butchery), Matt Bugeja (Kneading Ruby), Troy Crisante (Quay), Aaron Teece (Studio Neon), Alex Prichard (Icebergs), Sarah Knights (Automata), Joshua Gregory (EXP. Restaurant) and Meiers himself to recreate a dish originally conceived by the mentors in canape-style.

A targeted hospitality industry R U OK? program will be introduced at the Sydney event along with training resources that were produced using funds raised by the 2017 Food for Thought campaign.

“The mentors’ role involves actively supporting the cause, attending the event and being involved in the conversation. Some who have previous experience as mentors in the kitchen will team up with a Food for Thought chef to recreate one of their dishes as a canapé.”

Tasting menu events will also be held in Brisbane and Melbourne.

While there is still work to be done, Meiers is bouyed by the progress made so far.

“Reflecting on the path of Food for Thought over the last five years, I think that there is a light years worth of different, with a lot of workplaces and industry not only acknowledging it but actively seeking training for better management of it.”

Event Details:

Brisbane: 12th November 2017
Billy Kart, West End
$140 for 6 courses with beverage pairing
Tickets available here.

Sydney: Monday 19th November
The Rooftop, Marrickville
$140 for 8 piece canapes and beverage
Tickets available here.

Melbourne: Monday 26th November
IDES, Collingwood
$160 for 7 course with beverage pairing
Tickets available here.


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