It has become alarmingly more commonplace to see passionate cooks and service industry professionals leaving the industry due to stress from loss of work/life balance, substance abuse, hostile working conditions, or any mix of the above.
While I used to think I was thriving in the craziness of kitchens as a line cook, I quickly realized as a kitchen manager that it was not a sustainable model, at least for me personally.
Since then I’ve tried to run more positive kitchens. I know that I can always do better. I know that sometimes I throw myself into my restaurants to escape from other problems. Sometimes I don’t know how to leave the restaurants, even when my staff tells me to go home. Sometimes these self-inflicted stressors result in me snapping at one of my team members, or my family.
I believe that I have to do better in an attempt to build kitchens where everyone strives collectively to lower that stress level.
I want my restaurants, and all restaurants, to create a culture where everyone works hard to give their teammates time off in order to recharge, so they can have the same done for them in return. My restaurants, all restaurants, can be places where we encourage each other to take care of ourselves and to have positive time away from work. They can be environments where we all come in to work knowing we will be welcomed and respected as a team member, put up beautiful food, and offer genuinely warm hospitality – all with a sense of professional urgency – because we are all happy to be here.
This is a change I hope to see across the industry, which is why I am joining the #FairKitchens movement, and I encourage my service industry friends to do the same.