8 in 10 chefs suffer from poor mental health

By Nikkie Sutton

- Last updated on GMT

Moving forward: chefs have said there is more work to be done to help mental health wellbeing in kitchens (image: Train_Arrival/gettyi,ages.co.uk)
Moving forward: chefs have said there is more work to be done to help mental health wellbeing in kitchens (image: Train_Arrival/gettyi,ages.co.uk)
Some 81% of UK chefs working in professional kitchens have experienced poor mental health during their careers, a new survey has discovered.

Furthermore, almost half (48%) said there was not enough being done to support their mental wellbeing in the workplace, a recent independent study of UK chefs from Nestlé Professional’s Chef range revealed.

The research also showed the top factors contributing to stress are staff shortages (58%), lack of time (43%) and limited budgets (42%). The lack of natural daylight in the workplace was also cited, with 41% claiming it negatively impacted their wellbeing.

Easing the issue

Nestlé’s Chef brand has collaborated with workplace wellbeing expert Renée Clarke of The Work Well Hub, in a bid to assess the current situation and see what can be done to ease the issue in a new report At Boiling Point: Addressing mental wellbeing in professional kitchens​.

The report also features commentary from trade bodies including UKHospitality, mental health campaigners Time to Change and Pilot Light, The Craft Guild of Chefs, Unite and fine-dining restaurant Cin Cin.

The research highlighted creativity as a key factor in reducing stress levels and increasing employee satisfaction with 87% agreeing more freedom to be creative in the kitchen would significantly improve their stress levels. However, the majority (85%) said their creativity is being stifled by other pressures in the kitchen.

Intensely satisfying

Nestlé Professional consultant chef Andrej Prokes said: “Being a chef is 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 often these days, it is.

“The survey results demonstrate mental health is a significant issue impacting chefs across the UK. And with the support of industry experts, professionals and campaigners, this report goes a long wait to understanding the causes and what more can be done to raise awareness, improve communication across the industry and reduce stress levels leading to mental health issues.”

Related topics: Chefs

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