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 and family, friendships, and financial debt . Parallel to these are problems with physical and mental health, and this is systemic. Not only does it affect the mental health of the substance user but also others close to them, all the way to the morale of the entire kitchen brigade and FOH team.
There are many reasons that people misuse substances, but it all comes down to one common denominator, that they want to feel different to what they are feeling at the time. Chefs are a passionate lot so it’s no coincidence that the incidence of substance misuse and addiction his higher than many other professions. There are a lot of factors that come into play, the kitchen culture and pressure to perform, the unsocial hours, unreasonable and controlling head chefs and managers, perfectionism, bullying, heat stress and sometimes dangerous working conditions.
The aim of this page is to help all of those affected. we will do this by offering insight and information regarding what you can do to maintain your own and your colleague’s mental health, We are not here to judge, but to offer support and empathy, and my aim is to provide information, options and referrals should someone decide to ask for help in addressing a substance use issue, and resources for those who suspect that a kitchen colleague needs help and would like to support them.