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    Bullying in the workplace

    Bullying in the workplace

    Have you ever wondered why bullying chefs are the way they are? Why some kitchens are so "tribal", why they need to shout, play the big guy or simply just behave as if the whole kitchen revolves around them? Well, now you have all the answers in Wendy M.B Bloisi's fascinating thesis on Bullying and Negative behaviour in Commercial Kitchens.

    It’s a very long read but pick out the bones of it and you can always use it the next time you have a Bully in the kitchen that thinks he's Gordon Ramsey.

    In layman’s terms, bullying is often down to two basic issues. The bullies lack of self-confidence and low self-esteem of the bully and the poor knowledge and education that they have in how much damage they do when they behave in this way. Also, the Tribal issues that Wendy talks about are often very prevalent in kitchens, the kitchen hierarchical system that often prevails means that chefs of a lower rank age or sex are often bullied or picked upon for little reason, and often its always been that way.

    They seldom seem to realise that their very words and actions can often have a profound effect on people. They fail to accept opinions that their actions are not acceptable in modern kitchens, they see it as “banter “or everyday kitchen talk and cannot understand just why people are now saying that this type of behaviour simply must stop.

    Chefs who believe that chefs must be tough to survive or that bad behaviour is fine because “that’s the way we were taught” are simply in the dark ages. This behaviour has nothing to with cooking and just because you can act tough doesn’t mean you’re any better as a chef. Mary Berry doesn’t need to act tough or bully anyone and many of the true greats of our craft are equally confident people who use their talents to communicate.

    Bullying isn’t just pointless and damaging, it’s also illegal to the point of harassment and punishable by dismissal, fines, or even imprisonment. For sure the days of the bully in kitchens are numbered, as people stand up to this vile action and demand better treatment from work colleagues and employers.

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