Eight in ten Chefs suffer from poor mental health, report reveals

Andrej Prokes
13/05/2019 - 08:29
Eight in ten (81%) of those working in professional kitchens have experienced poor mental health during their careers, a report has revealed.

The report, commissioned by Nestle Professional’s CHEF found that almost half (48%) believe that not enough is being done to support their mental wellbeing in the workplace.

 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.

The research showed 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, the 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.

Prokes added: “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”.

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 the report, Clarke provides  insight and advice for creating a workplace environment that will encourage creativity and reduce stress.

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.

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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