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Brian

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Everything posted by Brian

  1. 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 t
  2. 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-
  3. 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
  4. 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, emp
  5. 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
  6. 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 t
  7. 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
  8. 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. MH
  9. 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
  10. 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.
  11. 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 co
  12. 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
  13. 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
  14. 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
  15. Brian

    Unichef Agenda 2021

    Naturally much of what we had planned for 2020 has now been forwarded to 2021.This has given us the chance to evaluate and enhance some of our programmes. Membership. Whilst membership has remained steady, we must continue to push the Union forward as much as possible and we will begin to use our Social Media platforms in a much more progressive manner to achieve this. Not on the Menu Our fight to gain equality and respect for our female chefs will be extensive in 2021 with a solid campaign and plans to bring on board Female Chefs and notable others to back up our fight.
  16. Many reading this will be unaware, (as I was) about not only how difficult it can be being a chef with Asthma, but indeed just how dangerous it can be also. The tragic death this year of 19-year-old Lauren Reid at work in her kitchen in Glasgow has truly shocked all of us into learning more about Asthma and how we can both support our colleagues’ and raise awareness of this terrible illness. Of course, there are many causes and facets to Asthma and we are no experts, but we very much see Asthma as an increasing illness that seriously effects many Chefs in the UK and so Unichef has commit
  17. UK’s top chefs urge government to appoint Minister for the Hospitality Industry and demands rightful representation in light of recent struggles. PRESS RELEASE (9 October 2020): Claire Bosi, Editor of leading hospitality publication Chef & Restaurant Magazine, brings together some of the nation’s best chefs and hospitality representatives in a petition urging the UK government to impose a Minister for Hospitality. The group, which includes world renowned chefs including Marcus Wareing, Angela Hartnett, Asma Khan and Tom Kerridge (additional names below), is calling for the appoi
  18. Brian

    Yes Minister!

    The current online petition for the Hospitality Industry to have its own Government Minister is growing by the day. There has been much astonishment that such an important thing has never been suggested before, such is the enormous success and importance the industry plays in the lives of Britain that we have been simply too busy in the past to ever have thought it necessary. Pandemics, however, change everything, and the devastating impact the restrictions have had on our industry will be felt for many years to come. Never has there been a more crucial time in Hospitality for i
  19. From time to time in catering, something comes along that revolutionises the way we work. You can think of things like Maltodextrin or even Rational Ovens, but something much more important is about to change the way we work in this industry forever. “Onesided Flexibility” is soon to become outlawed in catering and heralds a change in the relationship between Employer and Employee of seismic proportions, but what exactly is Onesided Flexibility? In short, it’s a working relationship that sees the benefit mainly for the Employer, onesided. The obvious example in our profession would be Sp
  20. Many have heard of terms such as subconscious sexism, racism, and ageism. Those inner most thoughts that we rarely see come to the surface but are often in the backs of people’s minds. Indeed, our actions, even with the best of intentions are now considered as our true feelings. The theory behind this being that if we say or do something that is now socially unacceptable even though we adamantly deny such thoughts then it is our subconscious feelings coming forward, in fact our “true selves” This theory is then echoed into the handbooks of many employers, governed by overzealous HR consu
  21. As head of Unichef and a working chef, there are few things that annoy me more than the subject of pay errors. When someone has worked hard all month and is looking forward to their pay, is it not too much to ask that it be correct? We are expected to perform to the best of our ability so why not the payroll clerks? Whilst we suffer the wrath of Head chefs and mangers for making mistakes in our daily work, is anyone ever actually reprimanded for making mistakes in our payroll? I think you will find that the answer is no. HR and payroll are virtually a law unto themselves in many c
  22. 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
  23. 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
  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. 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
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