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  • Our picks

    • Chefs and Substances … A perfect pairing?
      During a lecture for my degree in addictions therapy the tutor said that there were certain professions that have a higher rate of addiction than others, chefs were mentioned as one of those.

      No surprise then that in a class of twelve students, two of us had been chefs for over 20 years and had our own past substance misuse issues. Following that, during my experience working in residential rehabs I noticed quite a few clients were or had been chefs in the past. This got me thinking, I knew why I used to drink when I was a private chef, the pressure, the control, performance anxiety and need for perfection were all factors, but I wondered why it was that chefs as a group had higher instances than the general population of potentially harmful alcohol and drug use.

      It seems the idea that chefs and substances are a perfect pairing has always been there, there were the drunken chef stereotypes even before television brought the early celebrity chefs to our living rooms, with a glass in one hand and a spatula in the other. Then, twenty years ago Anthony Bourdain’s “Kitchen Confidential” brought the industry’s dirty little secrets to the public eye, the exposure of the drug and drink fuelled kitchen culture didn’t do anything to stigmatise it, to the contrary, it seemed to glorify and normalise it and attracted a small army of celebrity hopefuls happy to be part of the macho anything goes kitchen culture.  “it’s wrong, but “look at what I can do and what I can handle when I just have a few drinks / bump/ speed etc to get through service, then just have a splif to wind down and get some sleep so I can do it all again next shift.”
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    • Not On The Menu
      Once again, the vile topic of Sexual Harassment is raising its ugly head.

      As if we did not have enough to contend with as chefs, we still hear of disturbing reports and complaints of sexual bullying and even sexual assault.

      Sadly, few realise the real harm this can cause and the extreme penalties that are involved for those that perpetrate and those managers and Head Chefs who turn a blind eye to the tribal goings on in their kitchens.

      In an industry that has been completely turned on its head with COVID and is now beginning to realise the enormity of the changes in store, isn’t also time that we evaluated the very values and morals that we need in today's modern kitchens.

      Unichef has constantly strived for a Zero tolerance of abuse in all kitchens, it is the number one core principal set out in our constitution, but it still continues to be a difficult battle.

      The endemic attitude of many male chefs and the lack of strong female and gay chefs who are prepared to make a stand no matter what the cost is at times frustrating and often heart breaking.

      Tribal kitchens still thrive and feral chefs who still exhume vile and hurtful statements, behaving as jungle animals looking for their next victim, caring not that they could well be on the way to prosecution, dismissal and the prospect of never being employed in any food establishment ever again are sadly still present in our profession.
      • 0 replies
    • Walking the wild side
      A recent incident has highlighted a phenomenon which I believe could be completely unique to catering
      • 0 replies
    • Agency Working, Good or Bad?
      As we now turn our thoughts towards a new horizon in the Industry, chefs are beginning to contact us for advice on Agency working.As a Freelance Chef for more than 30 years I am more than suitable to offer you a comprehensive and balanced view of the Recruitment Industry.

      • 0 replies
    • The Unichef Story
      If you’ve ever wondered just how someone manages to start a national movement from scratch, then here you are, our entire story, warts and all? We really kicked off in about 2013, just a few chefs who had been saying for many years that we needed a “Union” for chefs as all of the big Unions were simply not interested in us as a profession and that small kitchens in the middle of nowhere just couldn’t get any sort of representation.
      • 0 replies
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