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Brian

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Brian last won the day on August 10 2020

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  1. Brian

    No Minister!!

    The news that the government has set up a “task force” that has zero shop floor representation has been met with dismay and anger. The new Hospitality committee comprises of the Business Minister Paul Scully and Business Executives who all have a vested interest in seeing the industry return to prosperity. They have been seconded to ensure that the government’s 22 point plan for recovery is supported, implemented and encouraged within the industry. However the very point that they intend to do this without recourse to any Union or representative body is quite beyond belief and belies the very attitude that is ripping our industry apart. That those who oversee a “them and us” vision of our future should take a long hard look in the mirror as few of them can truly hold their hand up when they are asked if all of their workforce are secure in their employment, happy and feel safe and protected. Never could we have envisioned that the very cause of much the deep concerns in the industry are now in the very hands of those who have in recent years overseen much of the abuse of its workforce fueled by mass immigration and poor expansion planning. The National Chefs Union has now written to those MP’s that supported the call for our own Hospitality Minister earlier this year and have demanded an urgent review of the Council, its role and the lack of diverse representation. This appalling lack of sensitivity and respect shows contempt for the very people that they employ. This “let them eat cake” attitude has to stop and its has to stop at the very top if we are to achieve a better future for those that we seek to employ. That they do not seek engagement with the workforce through their representatives shows an unwillingness to accept the worker empowerment that is sweeping across our industry and a fear of those that seek change.
  2. One of the biggest issues we have in modern catering is what to do when conflict occurs within the pressures of a busy kitchen. These issues are very often the result of either the internal “self-drive” of the chef or chefs involved and, or the external pressures of time, standards and fatigue, and very often all these combine to create that “perfect storm”, Sadly, these days many young and inexperienced managers who have not proceeded through the ranks of Hospitality do not know how to deflect these situations in order to carry on with the day’s work and inevitably end up losing a chef, either for that day or even permanently. Without doubt the answer lies within the hands of the unit manager or Head Chef to be experienced and strong to be able to control and motivate their employees. Recruitment and selection play such a big part also. Many Head chefs and managers concentrate on the practical side of an applicant but few seek to know the inner person they are interviewing. Few ask for their views on bullying and discrimination or their attitudes to women in kitchens, yet much of the future conflict can be avoided by more careful selection of candidates. If we focus more on the merits of the person and not solely on their cooking ability then we should be able to see the potential for conflict at that stage. Personal references and careful scrutiny of candidates at this stage avoid the potential for conflict. Kitchen conflicts are often about personalities, with experience and careful man management these occasions need be rare.As new Chefs are so often interviewed by the Head Chef or Manager, they are rarely introduced to the team or brigade for their reactions, yet the team itself should have a major say in who they bring into their workplace environment, should they not? This is a “people” business, yet our ability at times to understand and develop our senses about the people who we employ and work with can be quite shocking. When conflict occurs, we should question ourselves in asking could we, as Managers, chefs and colleagues have done more to avoid that incident, were we as much to blame?. The National Chefs Union works tirelessly with many employers to educate our colleagues that the great majority of conflicts are solvable and that they often move forward through development and motivational leadership. We must understand that nobody wishes these conflicts to occur and that there is normally a reason behind such incidents, we just need the will and experience to seek those reasons and prevent them from happening in the first place.
  3. Recent events have shown to the media and outside world that a shocking environment exist inside of many UK kitchens. Yet within the industry none of this is of any surprise, such is the now systemic nature of workplace abuse within our sector. Everyone is puzzled as to how and why this would be in a modern working environment but to analyse the matter one must appreciate the demographics of the workforce and the cultural changes that had enabled these vile practices to exist and thrive. Professor Wendy Bloisi’s ground-breaking research into the background of bullying in commercial kitchens has acted as our Union’s bible for many years. In her thesis she explains that social and economic factors bear heavily on the mainly un- academic platform of hospitality employees and namely chefs in kitchens who are mostly kids off the street who have a talent to cook but little else. Chefs are by and large are often seen as unskilled and problematic. https://www.research.manchester.ac.uk/portal/files/54526643/FULL_TEXT.PDF Those factors are born out when Chefs then bring their cultural ideologies and traits into an un-policed workplace where they are “safe” to bully and intimidate within their own peer group, without fear of retaliation, discipline or indeed prosecution. If we then subscribe to the now widely held social belief that “abuse breeds abuse” whether it be in the home, marriage or school, then also that must apply to the workplace also, and some kitchens in particular, which can be no more than a “playground” for bully’s. All of this has been ingrained into our workplace over the last 10-15 years by the “glorification” of kitchen abuse by chefs such as Gordon Ramsey and programs such as Hell’s Kitchen and the F Word. Ramsey himself came from an abusive background and strict culinary teaching and so that has perpetuated into his work. Those who idolise him copy his actions and believe that to be correct, normal and even "cool" and so it goes on, from generation to generation. Chef Ramsey may well be a reformed character but the damage has been done and will last for many years to come. This “gladiatorial” display of bullying, played out in front of millions, is now the main factor in just why “bullying and harassment has become systemic within UK kitchens. Many factors play there part in people who abuse such as lack of confidence, and self-esteem bit also those who bully and intimidate may have autistic traits and are often acting out a defense mechanism which is their way of self-protection. Both Chefs, and the wider public have now accepted this as how kitchens are ran and is without doubt the disease that has crept up upon us and has led to the now “normalisation” of abuse and harassment that we see today. Change can only be affected by constant education of our peers, our employers, the media, and most importantly, our students coming into the industry. Abuse is a plague within our sector that has to be stamped out by all who work within it. We are all part of a precious and special profession, a profession that cares for our clients but fails to care for those that work within it. We can do better and we must do better. We must learn from the past mistakes of others and make a conscious decision that as “professionals” we are sometimes not as professional as we should be and look to other professions that show us a better example of how to treat our colleagues.
  4. Brian

    A right (Eton) Mess

    With our industry now ready (almost) to return to some sort of reasonable normality we are now seeing the pent-up frustration of both Employers and Employees and issues raising to the surface. The pressures on Employers are staggering that’s for sure. many have huge debts and they continue to rise and now they are face with a massive shortage of good chefs and are having to shift that pressure back onto the small workforce that they have just to survive the rest of the year and get back some of what they have lost. Needless to say, this is causing huge resentment to staff, who feel that they are being made to pay for what has happened over the last year or so but are they right to feel that way? Do Employers also have a right to feel that they now should expect employees to shoulder the heavy burdens they have an “take one for the team “, soak up the pressure, work extra shifts and extra days, all for the good of the business and for the security of their job? It's certainly a moral dilemma that none of us have ever faced before. Is it right to “guilt trip” employees, is it right to add even more pressure than they already have or is it the Employers sole responsibility to shoulder all the issues and run their business effectively from day one? Do employees have a moral obligation to support their employers by providing free labour? At Unichef, we HAVE to see both sides of the coin. We have members who are owed thousands of pounds from employers who have no money. We have even heard of Employers keeping tips so that they can pay bills, and chefs having to clean toilets because they have no cleaner and many other sad and shocking stories. Things are not back to normal and will not be for along time. Industry experts predict this to last in Hospitality indefinitely as few realise that we have also lost a million oversees workers, many of whom were working in our sector. Remember nothing like this has ever happened before and we are watching carefully as they situation develops and hoping that some relief is in sight for both sides but we are not optimistic. We warned in March 2020 that this would happen, it was sadly all inevitable and possible much worse to come as chefs now feel even more that this is “not the job for them”. Many have returned excited, but so many more have returned frightened and disillusioned and are already looking to get out. An industry cannot simply lose that volume of workforce and not be severely affected and If, as many believe, they trade was bad before the crisis, then it’s even worse now that’s for sure, it’s in a mess and will be for a long, long time
  5. Recently, I had a notification from Linkedin telling me that’s someone wished to be included in my professional network, nothing new it happens every day. As you process that notification a panel appears that allows you to connect with likeminded professional’s and as being a chef, the algorithm’s set by Linkedin give me a huge selection, hundreds if not thousands of other chefs, and so you begin to connect with those you wish in your network. I tend to pick professionals who are clearly in the UK,and who I can then share and spread the word about our amazing Union.After picking about 20-30 I suddenly realised the huge lack of Women chefs and and chefs of colour, especially in any form of seniority? Sure there were a couple but most of the women were in other forms of the sector, Admin, Management HR etc and almost none Black or Asian female chefs? This really shocked me. Is the algorithm set to my past acceptance or is it geared up to my profile of being a male white chef? both of course would be wrong. Or could it be that Women and Black/Asian chefs don’t use Linkedin or even the reality that those demographic groups are simply not being represented on Social media because of the lack of those groups actually not being in our industry in sufficient numbers. This is certainly something we really ought to be considered more if indeed our industry is to recover from the pandemic and our employers seek to re-establish their business’s. Shockingly, almost all of the UK’s Contract Caterers are white male driven. Most of their group Executive Chefs, Development Chefs, Area Executive Chefs and Head Chefs are nearly exclusively white males? So too the numerous Chefs Associations and Craft oriented bodies that supposedly serve as ambassadors and leaders of our profession, promoting our culinary arts, again, mostly male, white dominated, and what about our college Lecturers, the teachers of our new young chefs, again the argument applies.Even in recruitment and on television the White Male Chef reigns supreme. Is the lack of diversity the reason why we still have so many problems in our industry? Is the fact that it is still white male driven the very reason that recruitment was at an all-time low before January 2020. Almost every employer of every description was finding it increasingly difficult to find the right chefs. Temporary Recruitment constantly relied upon and the situation was becoming so acute that it even began to affect the higher levels of our profession, including Michelin starred establishments.Whilst the” White Male Club” still exists in professional cookery, how can we ever hope to move forward? So, as we hopefully progress towards the re-opening of our business’s isn’t it time to reflect upon just how diverse we should all be in our approach to recruitment and begin to embrace the fact that diversity can and does bring a whole new set of dynamics to our profession and our business, and that the next time we do recruit then we begin to find those women, and BAME chefs that can bring that extra “special ingredient” to our brigades.
  6. On the eve of an historical meeting between representatives of the industry and Government officials, it is good for everyone to know just exactly why we need our own Hospitality Minister and just why we seek to get closer access to the corridors of power. Much has been said but we think it is time to set out just what we aim to achieve when we do get our own Ministerial Official. Ministers work between Government and the elected bodies and representatives of an industry. They consult and formulate and implement plans and legislation on behalf of that industry, liaise with and consult with that industry for the betterment of all involved, to create a better and more functional industry. They can and do act independently but they also work together with the industry on new plans and the implementation of agreed plans and legislation. They can also advise and help draw up papers to put before government that might need new legislative approval. The advantages are that government get an insight into the industry and that the industry concerned can get first-hand information and advice on any new or proposed plans moving forward. The National Chefs Union already has an extensive list of items to put before our new Minister which include. *The creation of a timetable to oversee the implementation of the Good Work Plan and the approval of budgets to create the policing structure for that legislation as detailed by the Director for Labour Enforcement. * Discussions on the possible amendments to The Health and Safety at Work Act to create a Maximum Level of Heat and to set in law the requirement for free-flowing fresh air within all UK commercial kitchens. * Discussions on the possible amendments to the Human Medicines Act to allow UK Commercial kitchens to store Emergency Asthma Kits (similar to schools) * Discussing on the revision of Food Premises Licensing to include provisions for the above amendments and employee wellbeing. Our list is not exhaustive, there is indeed much we wish to discuss with our new Minister and we fully intend to have our “seat at the table” and make sure the Chefs of the UK are not ignored. Employment abuse is systemic in UK kitchens and we need to hit the ground running and address the many issues that have been building up for so long, including the age-old practice of Chefs and their kitchens coming last on the priorities of new business who think they can make a fortune on the backs of their chefs without consideration and due attention to the law and their representatives. In the future no Pub, Hotel, Restaurant, or food premises should ever be allowed to open until the requirements and provisions of Laws attaining to the safety and wellbeing of employees are met first. The future of catering is here and with us right now and for long we have been last in the queue…now we will be first. Make no mistake, we fully intend to have our voices heard.
  7. Scottish and International Masterchef Shona Sutherland talks about sexism in our industry and just how important it can be that male chefs nurture and support talent of both sexes. Firstly, I want to stress that while dominance, bullying, harassment, sexism, intimidation and abuse I know is not confined to being directed only at women by men and can affect and be instigated by all demographic groups, since I am a chef and a female, I speak from this perspective. We can’t deny that it is an issue that still blights workplace mental and physical health, motivation, performance, passion, empowerment, happiness, and satisfaction. Secondly, I am keen to make aware that having been in the industry for my working life, that I am thankful to have worked with and been taught by many inspirational, respectful, humble, equality fighting and talented chefs who are male. We’d be in denial if we didn’t confront the fact that women in some cases are still victims of misogyny. While recognition and progress has been made over the years, there is still an engrained egotism, arrogance, domination, narcissism apparent and it is projects like these that lead the way in raising awareness. Education and leading by example are key. In an ideal world we can think of ourselves all as ‘chefs’ without a mention of gender, for me that is how I would have identified, but over time I have come to realise that it must be of huge disservice to women in the industry who have suffered atrocities at the hands of male colleagues. If we don’t differentiate in gender (in certain circumstances of discussion), then I’m not sure how the issues mentioned above that exist can be confronted or transformed in the future. I have had the joy of working in professional kitchens where, alongside men, women were an integral part of the operation, bringing their creativity, humour, understanding, strength, passion, leadership, and determination with them. How beneficial would it be to be to empower these qualities in the workplace, or is this exactly what a superiority mentality would try to suppress? I’d like to thank all those supportive, dynamic, creative, inspirational, and talented women I’ve encountered on my chef journey in all areas of the catering industry Thanks, Unichef for inviting me and other chefs to take part in the ‘Not on the Menu’ project. You can discover more about Shona and the fabulous work she does at Taystful, her chocolate emporium in Perthshire. Chocolaterie, Patisserie, Wedding Cakes, Masterclasses, Workshops. Perthshire Scotland. WWW.TAYSTFUL.CO.UK Taystful creates luxury handmade chocolates, stunning cakes and patisserie, and holds masterclasses, courses and workshops at Taystful and venues further afield. Shona has also created a survey so that female chefs can have thier say on sexism in the industry Women in Catering Survey - Sexism, Equality, Male Dominance WWW.SURVEYMONKEY.CO.UK Web survey powered by SurveyMonkey.com. Create your own online survey now with SurveyMonkey's expert certified FREE templates.
  8. Some reading this will be wondering just why we need to push this subject so hard, after all aren’t there supposed to be equality laws in place? That’s true, there are, however much of that legislation is still governed and policed by men, and mostly men who have been brought up in a sexist environment which often effects their passive view attitude to women in kitchens. I too, was brought up in this macho, male dominated atmosphere, although I was grateful that my main teachers in cookery were all women and I benefited from their wisdom and care. Those early years working with women taught me so much about the respect and value that I needed to show as I progressed in my career. You would think that in the 21st century, the very last thing we should have to worry about is the safety and comfort of our female colleagues in UK kitchens, however the truth is that sexism and inequality is still a big issue in today's kitchens, and we need to continue the fight against it. So many chefs have commented upon the lack of young chefs and the quality of their training, yet as an industry we still fail to realise just how unattractive the job is to many youngsters and especially to young women who still see the industry dominated by loudmouth macho chefs and they wonder” is this really the job for me?” Unichef have known for many years that teaching “old dog's new tricks” is a long and arduous process, and therefore we know that if we are to eradicate sexism from the profession, we must educate our younger chefs from day one. We also know that, in the short term, Litigation or even the threat of Litigation can be a powerful tool against the sexists. Fines are increasing and many employees are now aware of the seriousness of sexism and the damage it can do to their business. The industry seriously needs to get its own house in order if we are to adequately provide a workforce fit for the21st Century. In 2021 we should not even be discussing this subject, but we are so far behind many professions that except women as equals and as colleagues and not sex objects. We have taken our slogan # Not on the Menu from the USA yet again other countries have taken the initiative against sexism and #Not on the Menu is a hugely successful campaign which has succeeded in catapulting some of the USA’s top female chefs into prominence. We need to take a strong lesson from their book and begin to look in the mirror and say to ourselves, “we must do better” and end sexism in British kitchens.
  9. Hospitality Action was established in 1837 and has since offered vital assistance to all who work, or have worked within hospitality in the UK and are the largest UK Hospitality Charity. They are there for the chefs, waiters, housekeepers and managers. They are there for the concierges, receptionists and kitchen porters. And they are there for every sommelier, bartender, catering assistant and cook across the UK. Whether you work in hotels, restaurants, pubs, bars or cafes, schools, hospitals or event venues, They are there to give you the help, advice and support you need whenever times get tough. Click Here To Visit Website
  10. Time to Change is a growing social movement working to change the way we all think and act about mental health problems. We've already reached millions of people and begun to improve attitudes and behaviour. In 2018 Unichef took the Pledge to support TTC and became the first Union in the UK to actively support Mental Health in the work place. Read all about the way TTC is changing the way we all thing about MHI Click Here To Visit Website
  11. Shout is a 24/7 UK crisis text service available for times when people feel they need immediate support. By texting ‘SHOUT’ to ‘85258’ a Texter will be put in touch with a trained Crisis Volunteer (CV) who will chat to them using trained techniques via text. The service is designed to help individuals to think more clearly and to take their next steps to feeling better. Shout was publicly launched in May 2019, after a year long pilot phase. It is based on the successful US model Crisis Text Line. Shout is part of Mental Health innovations (MHI), which was founded in November 2017. MHI was set up following the success of The Royal Foundation’s ‘Heads Together’ campaign, which identified how utilising digital platforms and tools has huge potential to offer support services to individuals struggling with their mental health. Click Here To Visit Website
  12. Brian

    Mind

    MIND are the foremost Mental Health Charity in Britain.They provide free support and care for thousands of people experiencing all forms of Mental Health. They campaign to improve services,raise awareness and promote understanding.For more than 70 years MIND have been committed to making sure that everyone experiencing MHI has the support and care they need. Now Mind has teamed up with National Chefs Union in supporting chefs across the UK.You can find out all about MIND and the fantastic work the do... Click Here To Visit Website
  13. Let’s face it, the way we feed our kids at school is nothing short of a national disgrace! My work with local schools has brought me into daily contact and I have been traumatised by the poor standard of cooking and the planning of school meals.Food has often become a revenue earner in many schools and food is often created that is a “seller” regardless of it lack of nutrition. Hi Carb and hi sugar is the order of the day with many children now reaching their recommended intakes by early morning. Pizza, cheese on toast, cakes paninis, cakes, sticky buns, all on sale by 11.00am. When Jamie Oliver first highlighted the situation, we have known the dangers and I really thought schools had changed but they haven’t. I started out shocked and dismayed but I needed to find out why this was happening and after a years study I believe I have found the reasons, the answer’s and the solutions. This all might sound grand, but in reality the answers have been staring us right in the face for many years. Kids need feeding for sure, they are hungry at the best of times but the “full on assault” of the politically correct brigade has proved a failure. Replacing pizza with a Fruit Kebab might sound the answer but the uptake is poor, and so the value is of no significance. Schools also rely heavily on the revenue generated by the sales of Hi carb-Hi sugar items to sustain jobs, if they suddenly drop in revenue redundancies are likely if not inevitable and this too is a major issue and a real reason for the lack of progress So what DO we do? British Children are now addicted to Sugar and Carbohydrates, there is no doubt. Until now the technology in food has not been at the forefront (although it has been there for many years ) that enables us to replace the Hi-Carbs and Sugars with an equally effective product in both taste and value. If we can produce flour based products with Low Carb alternatives that are great to eat and cost the same price them we are at a major turning point in school feeding, and I believe that time has come. The revolution in Vegan and Allergenic free products has stormed the supermarkets and the technology to produce the Lower Value items that we seek is right there to be harnessed and used. If the kids want Pizza, great let them have it, BUT let us ( the industry ) make sure that what they eat is vastly reduced in Carbs and sugars, and that it still tastes great and that the caterers can continue to run their business cost effectively. Low Carb flours and Bread ( Hovis Lower Carb ) are now so advanced that they are indeed a real alternative and whilst still expensive that cost will come down with consumer pressure and continued use. The same applies to sugar. Alternatives in the past were poor but the revolution in Plant Based, natural products has seen a real alternative such as Stevia coming to the market That’s where food4kids comes in. We will use our Union to lobby industry and schools to come on board, help us to produce these products and put them into the real environment. Unichef is a Community Union and where better can we make a difference then right in the heart of how every school should run, from its kitchens. We will teach and educate Heads, Teachers and the kids into the future of eating and bring awareness about Obesogenic Environments. We will work closely with the Schools, Caterers and suppliers to ensure a consistent and sustained approach to this NEW challenge, a 21st century challenge using technology to solve the issues that we face. We will encourage top chefs to be involved and help us to produce items and menus fit for today's educational system and we will bring food back onto the curriculum where many believe it should be.
  14. Announcing our new initiative for 2020, the Unichef Food4kids programme. This programme will study how Children in UK schools are currently being fed and how we can bring together experts in all fields to bring about the changes in the overconsumption of Carbohydrates and Sugar. The programme will involve itself in how school meals are often very poorly designed and constructed, from the menu and recipe design through to costings and searching for cost-effective replacements for many of the favourite "fill up "foods that kids crave for. Food4kids will work closely with schools and colleges in searching for all the answers to the difficult issues that they face and will seek to educate the Heads of Schools, their Governors and all the school systems into believing that there is a much better way to feed our children in the 21st Century and finally, but most importantly, the kids themselves. Children need to be fully educated into that what they eat now will affect their health for many years to come. They need to know the addictive qualities that Starch, and sugars have on the nutritional system as they grow. We will use our extensive network of Chefs and suppliers to develop high quality, low carb, low sugar replacements for all the favourites that kids like. We've discovered through the years that replacing pizza with salad, just doesn't work, and we need to find like for like replacements, but with the addictive sugar and starch removed. Such items DO exist, and we need to put pressure on manufacturers, suppliers, and Caterers to develop products with severely cut levels of these additives at the same price if not cheaper than products presently used. If kids want pizza then fine, just let us develop pizza and other items that are great tasting, but just as filling and at the price caters can afford...it can be done, and it will be.
  15. 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.” I think we all know that there is a high level of Alcohol and Drug use and misuse in the profession, and the question is why? Research has found that hospitality employees have significantly higher rates of risky alcohol and illicit drug use compared to other industries (Berry et al., 2007; Roche et al., 2008) and an Australian study found that hospitality employees are up to 3.5 times more likely than other workers to use alcohol or drugs at work or to attend work under the influence of alcohol or drugs (Pidd et al., 2011) and parallel research indicated that the prevalence of drug and alcohol misuse use among trainee chefs appears notably greater than the rates for the general population of the same age (Pidd et al., 2014). There are a couple of schools of thought as to what factors contribute to this, one is that the users are mentally or physically predisposed to use substances, that they have an “addictive nature. The other is that it’s the environment that fosters the desire to use substances, in other words individuals use substances to deal with the pressures of the job, the stress, the heat, irregular hours, pressure, lack of sleep etc. Adding to that, staff often report high levels of on the job bullying and sexual harassment, ( Roche, Pidd, & Kosta- dinov, 2014,) so they may resort to using drugs and /or alcohol to reduce tension and cope with stress associated with this (Murray- Gibbons & Gibbons, 2007) . Another factor to consider is availability, most kitchens have adjacent bars/pubs and staff may be bought drinks, or the culture might be that its ok to drink a few beers during service or clean down. Workplaces may be located in an area where its relatively easy to obtain drugs or co-workers have a ready supply. Then, in accordance to social norms theory, peoples’ assumptions regarding acceptable levels of substance use based on un-written rules, mirroring collectively agreed-upon behaviours, attitudes and beliefs (Zhu et al., 2011). In other words, it is the monkey see, monkey do culture of “it’s no big deal, everyone’s doing it” … and so, before long almost everyone is. In some work places there is a tradition of a couple of free drinks after service, and sometimes a few drinks after service continues on to other venues, and chefs catch up on a social life they would otherwise wouldn’t have, the cycle continues the next night and you are wondering how to get through service! If you cannot stand the heat, get out of the kitchen, or just do what everyone else is doing right? Obviously, this is not the case in every kitchen but it's interesting how substance use became so accepted in the industry, But in the past couple of years it has been highlighted as something that is no longer acceptable, facilitated by some prominent chefs going public with their mental health and substance misuse issues and making real moves to change the axiom of turning a blind eye to substance use, and what can be a toxic work culture that results in some chefs relying on substances to function. There has been a number of peer support groups emerge to support those experiencing issues, Facebook groups and education re recognising those with poor mental health etc., also, an excellent US web page called “chefs with issues” In an interview with The Guardian newspaper in 2017, a year before his death Anthony Bourdain opened up about his regrets, shame, and what he called his "unhappy soul" Bourdain reflected on his chaotic life in the kitchens, saying he had finally "put aside my psychotic rage, after many years being awful to line cooks, abusive to waiters, bullying to dishwashers. It’s terrible – and counter-productive – to make people feel idiots for working hard for you.” He also had acknowledged that he struggled with drug addiction and had a history of heroin use. (Bourdain's body was found in his hotel room in France. He is believed to have killed himself) So, regardless of whether you are a newly qualified chef or veteran you will most likely come across the issue of substance use and its effects on your team. What we aim to do here is to provide resources to understand the issue and the ripple effects, from morale, lost productivity, health issues and workplace culture to recognising the signs when you or a colleague needs support, and where to get help and what’s available. REFERENCES Berry, J. G., Pidd, K., Roche, A. M., & Harrison, J. E. (2007). Prevalence and patterns of alcohol use in the Australian workforce: findings from the 2001 National Drug Strategy Household Survey. Addiction, 102(9), 1399e1410. Murray-Gibbons, R., & Gibbons, C. (2007). Occupational stress in the chef profession. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 19(1). Pidd, K., Roche, A. M., & Buisman-Pijlman, F. (2011). Intoxicated workers: findings from a national Australian survey. Addiction, 106(9), 1623e1633 Pidd, K., Roche, A. M., Fischer, J. A., & McCarthy, C. (2014). Risky behaviours, risky work settings: the alcohol and drug consumption patterns, health and well- being of commercial cookery trainees. Journal of Health, Safety and Environment, 30(2), 301e311. Pidd.K Roche.A. kostadinov.V. Trainee chefs’ experiences of alcohol, tobacco and drug use. Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Management. V 21. Dec 2014, 108-115 Roche, A. M., Pidd, K., Bywood, P., & Freeman, T. (2008). Methamphetamine use among Australian workers and its implications for prevention. Drug and Alcohol Review, 27(3), 334e341 Roche, A. M., Pidd, K., & Kostadinov, V. (2014). Trainee chefs' experiences of stress, bullying and coping in commercial kitchens. Journal of Health, Safety and Environment, 30(2), 259e269. Zhu, J., Tews, M. J., Stafford, K., & George, R. T. (2011). Alcohol and illicit substance use in the food service industry: assessing self-selection and job-related risk factors. Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Research, 35(1), 45e63. Anthony Bourdain: ‘I put aside my psychotic rage, after many years being awful to cooks’ | Anthony Bourdain | The Guardian WWW.THEGUARDIAN.COM The chef and author on encountering vichyssoise aged nine, practical jokes with his sous chef, and learning to take food less seriously
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