Eight in 10 chefs have reported experiencing poor mental health during their careers and almost half (48%) believe not enough is being done to support their mental wellbeing in the workplace.
That is according to a recent survey of 102 UK chefs by Nestlé Professional’s Chef range, which has released a report, At Boiling Point: Addressing mental wellbeing in professional kitchens, exploring mental health in kitchens and what can be done to reduce stress.
The research shows that the top factors 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.
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.
Nestlé Professional 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.
The report identified creativity as a key factor in reducing stress levels and increasing employee satisfaction, with almost nine in 10 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.”
Chief executive of industry charity Hospitality Action Mark Lewis said: “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. We applaud anything that can be done to raise awareness of and destigmatise an issue that costs too many lives in our industry.”
Mental Health Awareness Week starts today and runs until Sunday 19 May.