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  5. So, what’s NOT on the menu? Imagine if you can, that you are a female chef and you wear your button or your t-shirt with pride, the slogan saying #Notonthemenu. The answer is simple, so simple that it stops people right in their tracks and will forever change their view of how they treat you. That answer is me. I’m not on the menu! nor is my body, my gender, or my sexuality! “Yeah, right. That’s cool” comes the reply. It will only happen once, when they finally get the idea that you ARE an equal, you are a colleague, and yes you are a chef. The idea started in America, and comes
  6. Brian of the national chefs union asked me to talk about the ongoing risk of depression in the kitchen. I drafted articles about the state of the industry and how it compares to what I wrote about mental health in the kitchen in 2017 but then realised that what was going on in my own head was very different. The uncertainty of the future. It made me wonder if this is what is going through anyone else’s mind? There is a real uncertainly in our future and that’s what I want to talk about. How do we manage that in term of our mental health? In the present we can only be our best se
  7. Brian

    vacancy

    Dear Brian,I hope this finds you safe and well and thank you for your continued support.These roles are probably not for you but thought I would see if I could tap into your network and see if you may know someone.The LATEST ROLESSous Chef - Up to £29k plus excellent Live in (Inverness-shire)Head Chef - Award-winning Boutique Hotel in Scotland - £DOE Please call for further detailsCDP - Up to £29k plus excellent Live in (Inverness-shire)Head Chef - Up to £30k Small popular restaurant on the East Coast of ScotlandOnce again thanks for your supportKind regardsNeillNeill ForrestDirectorAstonForre
  8. Award-winning chef patron of two Michelin-starred Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons Raymond Blanc has remarked on the multiplication of customers with food intolerances, saying that to have one 'has become almost like a fashion item.' The master speaks out but is he right? or should we be more tollerent to peoples changes.
  9. Brian

    Turning A Blind Eye

    Almost since the very early days of our Union, have we been warning of that the days of chefs being able to dominate, bully, harass and do as they please were numbered. Few have heard of the term, Vicarious Liability, but along with chefs now having to be Pharmacists, Scientists and Mathematicians, you will now need to be Lawyers and be very much aware of the pitfalls of this often used but seldom explained rule of law. Vicarious Liability is one of the two Laws of Civil Liability. The other, Direct Liability, is more often understood by chefs who understand that employers could be sued
  10. For too many years now our Industry has been plagued by the crazy notion that some sort of recreational drug or liquid crutch will get chefs “through the day” and that they “need” those items in place to be the chef that they are or want to become ?? Yet repeatedly our Union sees the massive result in the scrapheap of chefs who thought that drugs, alcohol and even Caffeine drinks were the answer to their pressures and workload. There are so many that contact us who “used” to be a chef, with the same story. We even encounter Ex-offenders who once again tell us how the pressures of the jo
  11. What the hell does that mean? How do I wrote this inclusively of all? I’m not sure I can. I’m writing it as me. An approaching Middle Aged man who has been a chef and now a yoga teacher. I’ve never been overly physically strong, I’ve suffered mental health issues and I’ve run a marathon and I love a nice hot bubble bath. Am I manly? Am a masculine? I’ve had days when be felt really unmanly, girly, feminine, to then voice that to someone and hear them respond with “but I see you as very manly”, not “it’s ok to not be manly you know” which was what I expected. Why does it eve
  12. Wonderful and inspirational article Kieran,well done.Many will be comfortated by this.
  13. Living with those thoughts.... I, like many others, have very little to be unhappy about. I am truly fortunate and lucky to have an amazing group of supportive family and friends, I know many don't, and this only adds to my feeling of helplessness and despair. My anger is sometimes uncontrollable, I lose control and so far fortunately for me, I have an amazing wife who keeps me in check. For how long I don't know, what I do know is it can't continue, I feel like a dog who should be put out of its misery, it would be the kindest thing to do. Being honest like this is somewhat of a relief b
  14. Strategy for food4kids to support a whole-school approach to healthy eating Healthy eating should be implemented as a whole-school approach to involve healthy eating as part of everyday school life. Food4kids aims to develop a supportive culture and environment by engaging with the community of the whole school. School Management Support from school principals and management can lead in the support of a whole school approach to healthy eating. Food4Kids will offer support on: The implementation of school food service policies. Offering advice on how to provide an
  15. Steven Mercer

    Your Voice

    When I say your voice I mean a lot more than the words you say. Your voice is your connection to your true self. A term I really like. That state where you are being true to yourself at its core and you are not being directed by external stresses. Yoga philosophy sees our voice being effected by the 5th chakra. The throat chakra, the Vishuddha. A blue energy. We are looking to have each chakra in balance. In particular to us chefs I am interested in how this means we communicate. Balancing your voice Deficient- timid, not sticking up for yourself, leads to be bein
  16. Hi All, I'm new to the site, and It seems pretty quiet on here? Is everything on Facebook and Twitter? Just here to have a bit of back up in case anything goes 'tits' up at work anytime soon. I return back to work on Thursday, I originally had/have a 4 day week 12 hour days but they want to change it to a 5 day week. Not sure if that will be 5 12 hour days, or 5 9 hour days etc. But I believe they are planning to give or write me a new contract and I don't want, and don't think I legally have to sign it, and if I refuse to, then I'm under the impression that I cannot be made redundan
  17. Great article Karen,the first of many.Chefs will come to know and trust this page and hopefully benifit from it ,well done.
  18. 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 n
  19. Brian

    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
  20. Thanks for the feedback Kieran ,sorry to hear you had a rough week and hope you feel better soon ,.. Depression is a tough gig on its own without the issues of other illness on top.! Good point though re prescribed painkillers , they are often down-played in the danger scale as they have been prescribed and legal ,.but for many can cause dependancy and for some can become the gateway drug to street drugs when the prescription runs out ,.. I will address this in a future article ,.
  21. Fantastic intro, this is something i have been extremely excited about and cant wait to learn more. I currently take prescribed medicine, extremely strong opiates and last week i was incredibly ill, compounded by the fact i was in withdrawal from prescribed opiates. This feeling whilst battling depression and not being able to keep any medicine down, was an eye opener for me. I so look forward to reading more, thank you.
  22. Great intro Karen,congratulaions and best of luck.
  23. Hello Chefs . I am Karen Murphy one of the Unichef Directors and an ex chef. I’m a qualified addictions therapist and a counsellor, experienced in residential rehab settings and community counselling. My passion is supporting chefs and their circle of family / co -workers/ employers, accept , understand, and work through any substance misuse and dependency issues they may be experiencing. Substance use is commonplace in the industry and for many it never becomes a problem, but for others it can escalate into dependency often resulting in loss of career, break up of relationships an
  24. “Walking Out” of the job is treated as so normal for chefs that we barely even think about it, but in reality it is a very rare thing in other professions, yet the current economic crisis has led now into thinking that “walking out” over what is usually a simple matter maybe not such a good idea,or even acceptable in a modern working kitchen? Doctors don’t walk out, neither do Firemen or Nurses, Bricklayers or Plumbers and when did you ever hear of a Gardener walking out because things weren’t right for him, its all VERY strange for sure. Yet even I must put my hand up, being notorio
  25. Leaked in the times newspaper Leaked rules show how pubs, restaurants and hotels will reopen in England APPLE.NEWS Beer gardens will be patrolled to enforce social distancing, hotels will leave room service at the door and...
  26. 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. Without doubt Agency working has changed substantially over the years, some for the good, some not, but for sure it is now a major employer of chefs in the UK and will be for some time as chefs continue to be transient in their career. You will find that almost every chef has
  27. Brian

    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. Many of us then were senior, experienced chefs who knew of the injustices and had grown up in a system of abuse but like most chefs took it as just “part
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