Cooking More than Just Food - Chef's Mental Health

We at L&L Consulting are saddened by the recent death of top Chef Benoit Violier from the famous Restaurant de l'Hotel de Ville. Chef Violier's suicide has once again drawn attention to the working conditions and lack of mental health supports available for chefs, and all those working in kitchens and restaurants.

We know that the workplace, in this case, the kitchen/restaurant, can impact individual mental health both positively and negatively. 

Positive impacts:

  • A workplace provides an opportunity to feel productive
  • Builds routine and stability
  • Opportunity to develop relationships and feel social connectedness
  • Financial stability
  • Opportunity to develop skills
  • Enjoyment of work 

Negative impacts:

  • Increased stress of job demands
  • Lack of control of work tasks, scheduling, colleagues, etc
  • Increased physical demands from working long hours with limited breaks (if any)
  • Negative experiences with colleagues
  • Hierarchical kitchen culture with inflexible chain of command
  • Small, cramped workspaces that take a physical toll on workers 

We need to balance these impacts on both individual and organizational levels.

What can individuals/employees do?

  • Take the breaks you are allotted and don't waste them - they will make you feel better!
  • During your breaks, engage in healthy activities and change your environment. This may include going outside, stretching, walking, reading, doing a crossword puzzle, getting your mind and body out of work for a few minutes 
  • Ensure you have a good work-life balance. Plan your days around your work schedule to ensure you can take care of life outside of work
  • Build your resiliency skills 
  • Advocate for supports you need in your workplace

What can kitchens/restaurants/employers do?

All workplaces can benefit from these tips! Contact us today to find out how L&L Consulting can help your workplace to better support employee mental health. Let's continue to prevent further suicides in the workplace. What are you doing in your workplace to support mental health? We would love to hear from you in the comments below!

Read more about Chef Violier's story here:

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