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Brian last won the day on May 20

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  1. Brian

    Unichef GOLD

    Unichef GOLD is our new membership level,downloaded as an App to your Phone from June 1st, and gives members unlimited access to the great benefits that we now have, with even more coming on stream soon. With more than 300 discounts and a massive array of services Members can expect to make average savings of between £800-1000 each year.These amazing offers and services include... Rewards Discounts from leading supermarkets and retailers such as Tesco 4%, Asda 4%, M&S 7.5% Waitrose 5%, Sainsburys 5%, B&Q, 5%, Primark 6% Argos 6%, Nike 9% Asos 8% H&M 9%, Ted Baker 9% ,Topman and Topshop 9%, and hundreds more.. Further rewards include Food and Drink,Motoring,Health and Fitness with discounts at more 3000 Gyms Nationwide,and you can eat out at over 3000 venues and get 10% discount at great places such as Browns,Toby Inns,Miller& Carter,All-Bar-One,Harvester and 15% off at Byron!! Gold members can also download a free movie every month from Rakuten ..plus a free coffee each month from Cafe Nero ( or if you prefer 9% discount at Costa )..better still have both?? And there's more... With discounts and special rates on Cycling,Motoring,Holidays,Travel,Gifts,Toys..up to 28%off at over 3000 gyms nationwide with UK Gyms..we can even get you discount on flowers !!. And there's more... Discounts on Golfing Breaks,Books,Online Reading..Great offers with UK Paintball,Drayton Manor Theme Park,Butlins and Haven..even 8% at Disneyland Paris !! You want MORE ??..OK time for some big name dropping... Unichef Gold members can also get discount from...Arcadia,RayBan.Bosch,Boots,Asics,Samsung,Apple,Waterstones,Ikea,Cotswold and Sports Direct,Adidas,Pursue Fitness,Nike. There is also some great new Support Services... Recognition. Help with development,career plans,further integration with other Unichef Members and peer to peer recognition and Mentor Support. Medical * Online G.P appointments * Prescription Delivery service * Easy on-boarding and management Resources * Free Online yoga classes and seminars * Free online ebooks and webinars * Free online gym and fitness classes Wellbeing (E.A.P ) With our amazing 24/7 Employee Assistance Programme support and advice is free and plentiful and includes.. * Free Confidential advice line * Critical Incident and Trauma support * Monthly newsletters and guidance webinars More important than all of this is that for just £6.99 per month you also get full membership of the most amazing National Chefs Union,and with more deals and more benefits to come this is a great package to be a part of. So,sign up from June 1st for Unichef Gold and be apart of our future.
  2. Brian

    Hospitality Action

    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
  3. Brian

    Time to Change

    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
  4. Brian


    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
  5. Brian


    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
  6. Why it matters? When Unichef started in 2015, the “awareness” of Mental Health Issues in catering were extremely limited, few employers and even fewer chefs realised the enormity of the situation. We count ourselves into that equation, as we too were oblivious to the daily struggles of many of our colleagues. When our Facebook Page started chefs began writing to us, wanting to tell their story, those stories shook us to the core. For the first time many of us began to realise mental illness effected chefs, and not just the odd one or two, but indeed many thousands. And then we realised that we also knew many of these chefs, and we had been working alongside of them for many years without realising the often huge sacrifices they have to make just to earn a living in the job they love. From that day on we knew that if Unichef was to help chefs then we needed to embrace MHI and work to learn more about those issues and those that have them. We started from scratch, we listened, and we learned, we talked, and we communicated with new friends and associates. We joined the Time to Change project in early years and more recently became very close to MIND in working together to end Mental Health discrimination in our industry. Today Unichef stands proud in the fact that we have done more to raise awareness of MHI in catering than any other Union, and when we became a CIC we took the inspirational step of enshrining MHI into our constitution, the first Union ever to do so. We constantly work to make all chefs and employers “aware” that the chefs your working with may have an illness that they often don’t want to talk about, but that they have every day of their lives, they don’t want pity or your money, they just need you to understand. Taking time to understand that having MHI is a daily strain in what is a hugely difficult job, taking time to check on your colleague, taking time to realise that their life might not be the same as yours, taking time to care, and taking time to support. So, awareness matters, not just this week, but as a constant theme in our everyday lives. Being aware that we have a 1 in 4 chance of working with someone that needs our understanding and a 1 in 4 chance that their bad days are 10 times worse than ours. Be aware of Mental Health Issues, not just today, but forever.
  7. The Good work Plan 2020 A revolution in working practise is about to impact on our industry and change the way employers engage with their workforce is about to happen, starting in April 2020. In 2018 the Government commissioned an independent report by Mathew Taylor on how to modernise and inspire the British workforce and its findings and recommendations have sent shock-waves through the Catering Industry. The principals are to create a British workforce fit for the 21st Century, a workforce that is inspired to do better and to produce more through Employer engagement, improved working conditions and care in the workplace as well as improved regulation and a new Regularly body to police these laws. Each Industry has its own unique issues and the Catering Sector is no different. Chefs have suffered for many years from inequality and discrimination, especially in multi departmental establishments, such as Hotels where, clerical staff, reception and HR are all treated differently in terms of facilities and contracts. This will all soon come to an end. Almost all of Mathew Taylor's recommendations have been accepted by the Government and the departments responsible are busy drafting the necessary legislation which is likely to come on stream bit by bit until the full report is enshrined in Law. These include ... Work Committees The right to have “workers committees” which will apply to businesses of 15 employees or more or 2% of the workforce. The Committee's will be encouraged to engage with their employer in ways never seen before. The committees will work with their employer who MUST engage in discussions and set up regular meetings to discuss all aspects that involve the workforce. Employers will be encouraged to seek ideas and put forward proposals to inspire and reward their workforce as part of the Government’s Good Work Plan. The Employer must encourage and act upon agreed grievances and consultations. Zero Hours. Those on Zero Hour Contracts, have at last been recognised. Whilst Zero hours has been useful to some, to many it is a huge lack of insecurity and the report recognises this. The discrimination of Zero Hours will end. Those on ZH for more than a year must be offered a permanent contract and those working add hock hours will be allowed to ask for a “minimum” working schedule. Zero Hours will come under the new heading of “one sided flexibility” where contracts that favour the Employer will be seen as discriminatory. So too will the abhorrent practice of prematurely ending of agreed shifts. Shifts that are cut in the middle of a working day when business is low, and workers are sent home without notice. This practise will cease, and business’s will be required to Re-work their business model in order to accommodate this. Split Shifts ( one sided flexible working ) Unique to the Hospitality Industry, Split shifts have long been used primarily for the benefit of the Employer. This totally unnecessary and abhorrent practice will also cease in places where the business operates normal straight shift patterns within its Company. Offering split shifts to Chefs and waiters whilst administrative and managerial staff are offered straight shifts will be discriminatory. Designated Policing The Government have also accepted the need for a designated Ombudsman solely to deal with issues arising from this legislation including hotlines for complaints. Conclusion In all, the most radical and positive work-related proposals in a generation. A chance to end the abuse and discrimination seen daily in kitchens every day and an exciting way forward for new chefs coming into the profession.
  8. With so much discussion about the future of chefs and what may happen if and when we return to work, many of us have forgotten the other side to the story.Its easy to think only of ourselves but what about the employers and in particular pub and Restaurant owners who have sunk their money and much of their lives into their dream.What is to become of their livelihood and what kind of a future do they see? We talk to Catherine Spence, the owner of a hugely popular and successful Restaurant in North Yorkshire to see how she feels about the future of her dream? Q. Hi Catherine,good to talk to you.What changes do you think would be good in the future after re-opening? A. What I think would be a good idea for you to advocate Brian, would be making the general public realise they need to pay more for meals and stop looking for offers , discounts and money off,then independents could pay higher wages Q. I agree totally, we have been opposed to 2-4-1 offers for many years and have said that there is simply too many bad Restaurants and too many Branded Chains? A. Exactly, the chains have ruined the industry, with ready made , vacuum packed food and offers.I’m up against this all the time , we have 2 chains near us and customers always complain that we are too slow, they just don’t get we are actually cooking the food and not putting it in a microwave Q. I believe that we are about to see a transition to the way we used to be where staff and clients were more highly thought of and that service was a skill and a pleasure.Can you see a future for quality establishments? A.Yes I can and my plan is to up our game , as there will be fewer diners , go for quality rather than quantity will be the way forward for us now. Q. With so many restrictions to running a Restaurant,do you see the future as a challenge? A.The system is against us , to be honest,VAT,business rates ( we pay £9000 a month ) Regulations,Health and Safety etc etc Q. Are you actively planning re-opening or are you waiting to see what instructions the government have in store ? A. I’m definitely reopening, we own the property, so need to open,but waiting to see the government guidelines then decide how to move forward Q. Do you think it is possible to obey the restrictions and still keep your staff and customers safe and maintain the unique and special atmosphere that your famous for? A. We could maintain the social distancing , but the atmosphere will not be the same , Italian restaurant are usually buzzing, busy and noisy , that will not be the case. It will probably now be a restaurant where people visit as a couple or family. But not in groups or parties for a long time. Q. Finally Catherine,do you envisage having difficulty recruiting for chefs when you re-open and in the future? A. No , I think now chefs will not leave their jobs and stay put. Thank you Catherine
  9. Dear Chefs , friends and colleagues I, like many of you out there, have spent and dedicated a life to the food and hospitality sectors, and as if our jobs as chefs wasn’t challenging enough, we now stir directly into the face of even greater adversity. As culinary creatives, artists, scientists, blended with a heavy dollop of hard labour and commonly referred to as chefs, we like to share our skills, offer experiences, excitement and make memories for our guests, more often than not, these are performed in challenging stressful working environments, short staffed, working long hours and not forgetting the low levels of compensation!, but we do it all too often because we love it! We embrace the service, demands, challenges, excitement and thrills that this industry can offer, whilst also having an eye on even greater opportunities, expansion, projects and goals. We work in an incredible diverse industry that has the ability to proudly place regions and towns on the British and even global culinary maps, an industry that allows new doors to open in new locations and even countries!. We work within one of the few industries that allows us to cross pollinate our skills in new regions and destinations, meet new people, increase our knowledge, embrace new cultures and culinary diversity in the process. All of the aforementioned has been pulled from under our feet, our doors closed , our restaurants and kitchens silenced , our lives as we know it cancelled until further notice. We are however humans and we have an incredible resilience , we do need to make a few adjustments and breath deeper than ever before, but we are also a very large community of special people, thousands of us in the same job, in the same position, with the same frustrations and there is no time like the present to join forces and to help each other when in need. Together we will all get through this and bounce back with new hope, vigour and determination, we may even appreciate all those things around us a little more of which we once took for granted, we may now understand the fragility of the earth and even those that we share it with!. We do however need to pull together to help those not covered in the governments furlough scheme, help those that may be looking for new jobs and positions later on or just help break the silence of the day with a friendly e-mail a shared joke or meaningless banter!. Take advantage of this period of rest and prepare to take to the stage as the performance of our lives is around the corner !. Stay well , stay safe and look forward to seeing you on the other side. Alan Coxon Alan Coxon, TV Chef / Presenter, Author, Speaker, Culinary Consultant WWW.ALANCOXON.COM Multi award winning TV Chef /Presenter, Author, Speaker, Culinary Consultant, Innovator, International Judge and British Ambassador for Food.
  10. So glad you mentioned "community" it is so important that we realise that helping our community ,helps us in our own well-being. Unichef is about Community..a community of chefs,it is there for all and when we help other chefs are well-being is fulfilled. Great work Steven,well done
  11. WOW..i so need to get to this..it IS on my to do list..promise.My wife and son go to sessions but I really need to push on and become involved haha
  12. Could not agree more.Working for a common aim,helping our fellow chefs,those in need and also those that seek support in helping others. This industry is brutal,if we all help each other it will become a lot less so
  13. Brian

    Balance of Work & Life

    Chefs forget about this so much.The word "balance" is so important in cooking.Not too much salt,not too much sugar,not too light,not too dark,not too thick,not too runny,not too hot..not too cold..etc. Balance is so important,yet chefs forget to add that same balance into their lives??
  14. This is SO true..a quick reality check in the mirror and you will see how important it is to keep your body and mind in check,so many chefs neglect themselves.
  15. Brian


    lovely article Steven,it show how empty we can become.Chefs who simply want to cook,cook,and cook,work ,eat sleep..being "hooked", not good..I know this more than most
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