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New Report Reveals Eight In Ten Chefs Suffer From Poor Mental Health

In a recent independent survey of UK chefs, CHEF® has found that eight in ten of those working in professional kitchens (81%) have experienced poor mental health during their careers*. Furthermore, almost half (48%) believe that not enough is being done to support their mental wellbeing in the workplace*.

The hospitality industry is an exciting, ever-evolving place to work, but with this comes a fast pace and pressure. There is increasing acknowledgement that more needs to be done to open-up conversations around mental health, and as such, CHEF® has commissioned an extensive report to gain a better understanding of how chefs are affected and what can be done to improve the kitchen environment and lower stress levels*.

The research shows that the top factors currently contributing to stress are staff shortages (58%), lack of time (43%) and limited budgets (42%)*. The lack of daylight was also cited, with 41% saying it negatively impacted on their wellbeing*.

Not only is stress having an impact on the mental wellbeing of those in professional kitchens, CHEF’s® research has also revealed it’s having a negative impact on wider business operations, with almost three-quarters (73%) of chefs admitted to calling in sick due to stress*.

CHEF® has collaborated with Renée Clarke, workplace wellbeing expert from The Work Well Hub to assess the current situation and what can be done to alleviate the issue in a new report, ‘At Boiling Point: Addressing mental wellbeing in professional kitchens’. Renée provides invaluable insight and advice for creating a workplace environment that will encourage creativity and reduce stress.

The report also includes commentary from industry experts such as UKHospitality; mental health campaigns, Time to Change and Pilot Light; The Craft Guild of Chefs; Unite and fine dining restaurant, Cin Cin – a prime example of a business prioritising employee wellbeing and creativity above all else.

The research identified creativity as a key factor in reducing stress levels and increasing employee satisfaction with almost nine in ten chefs (87%) in agreement that more freedom to be creative in the kitchen would significantly improve their stress levels*. However, the vast majority (85%) stated that their creativity is being stifled by other pressures in the kitchen*.

Andrej Prokes, Consultant Chef at Nestlé Professional® said:

“Being a chef is, I think, one of the most intensely satisfying jobs there is, but it comes at a price. As you’d expect, working at pace in a busy kitchen comes with its challenges, especially when you are putting your heart and soul into creating the perfect dish. However, that price should not be the mental health of chefs and too often these days, it is.

“CHEF’s® survey results clearly demonstrate that mental health is a significant issue affecting chefs across the UK and with the support of industry experts, professionals and campaigners, this report goes a long way to understanding the causes and what more can be done to raise awareness, improve communication across the industry and probably most significantly, reduce stress levels leading to mental health issues. For me, it’s a must-read for anyone running or working in a professional kitchen”.

Trade charity, Hospitality Action, whose work offers a crucial lifeline to those who work in the hospitality industry have welcomed the report, with their Chief Executive, Mark Lewis commenting: “The most recent survey results from Nestlé Professional® add to the growing body of evidence that there is still much to do to with regards to mental wellbeing in the kitchen.”, he added, “We applaud anything that can be done to raise awareness of and destigmatise an issue that costs too many lives in our industry.”

To download a copy of the CHEF® report, At Boiling Point: Addressing mental wellbeing in professional kitchens visit: www.nestleprofessional.co.uk/CHEF/at-boiling-point

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