Meet The UK & Ireland Team
I support the project because it is about standing up and saying that it is ok to speak up and not be judged for saying that you are struggling. It shows so much strength to speak out and you should not be ashamed. The Industry needs to change and embrace what goes on in the environment.
We as an industry need to change by looking out for the people that serve our great profession. It can only start from the Owners, CEOS and all the way down to the General Managers and the Floor Managers. I love this industry that I have been a part of for so long. The Burnt Chef Project is seriously making massive waves to raise awareness and instigate change. I couldn’t not support it!
I progressed through the ranks of a chain steakhouse in south London, at 22 was head chef, and wanted to learn more and so joined Carluccios as sous and learned about how to become a leader and manager in a more productive way. As well as travelling the length of the UK as a chef, I trained to a Michelin level in Italy, and became an operations chef leading to openings cooker demos and more with Antonio. Then moved into an Executive role covering the UK with Jamies Italian. The workload and pressure became immense, and found my mental health and relationships change.
Realising this, I moved to an exec role in a local garden centre where I learned to manage my mental and physical health. When the pandemic hit it gave me the opportunity to train in mental health, and support others but also lose my role as an exec with a small group in Manchester. The Burnt Chef Project is something i wish I had at the start of my journey to recognise the signs, but so proud to be a part of it now to support those coming into the industry, and support the cause to help those understand it too.
Marc 'Sparky' Davies
I’ve been a chef now for 18 years working in all areas of the kitchen from Grill to Head Chef in a variety of establishments from Private Schools, Care Homes, Chain Pubs, Restaurants and Private Boutique Hotels.
One thing I found immediately with this industry is the sense of family. This industry is great fun, and also hard work, but the satisfaction of imparting your skills to provide happiness to others is priceless.
My story doesn’t need telling but I have suffered and come through the other side. I heard of The Burnt Chef Project through a Facebook chef’s group and I immediately wanted in.
We are here to help and I hope we can do just that and start shrinking the stigma surrounding mental Illness.
I have worked in hospitality for over 20 years. When I started there was no mention of mental health, it was frowned upon if you were off sick and a badge of honour to work 14-hour days 6 days a week.
Chefs don’t feel like they can speak up and ask for help and they don’t know where to seek help. That’s why I want to be part of the Burnt Chef Project; to spread the word that it's healthy to talk and it’s important to seek help when you need it.
During a difficult period of my life where my thoughts were extremely dark, I didn’t know what to do or how I could feel “good” again. In the end it was the support from my wife and the love of my three kids that brought me back to being me again.
The Burnt Chef Project is exactly what our industry needs, and I am proud to be a chief ambassador.
I have been a Chef for over 10 years, cooking and hospitality have been my passion for as long as I can remember however, I have also suffered along the way with my mental health and how it has affected me in my career.
I met my partner last year and she has supported me in a way that I haven't experienced before. Through her charity and The Burnt Chef Project’s posts on social media, it has given me hope that there is help and support out there and we as chefs are definitely not on our own.
As an Ambassador for the project I want to show my personal support and help others get through their struggles just as I had to go through mine. I really do believe this movement will improve and change the trade forever and it will no longer be labelled as a "Thankless job" and,in fact, will be viewed more in admiration.
(East Lothian, Scotland)
I am passionate about offering a work life balance and supporting the team after having children. I suffered post natal depression after having my first baby. During this time I had little time off and worked 12 hour shifts 6 days a week. It was extremely difficult and I missed my wife and 3 week old daughter very much.
I now work for the Bon Vivant group. I am opening the new restaurant on the Royal Mile called Luckenbooths. I have had my second baby and feel nothing but support from my new employer. Having a family is life changing in all the great ways and some challenging ways. Hospitality members should not be made to feel like they have to choose.
I am aiming to be one of the first hospitality venues to be BCorp accredited. I feel the values around BCorp in terms of supporting staff, the planet and the local community and using business as a force for good link up very nicely with the aims of the Burnt Chef Project. I have also had a background in experiencing burnout first hand and I wrote a book about my story of setting up a wedding and events venue called The Wellbeing Farm, purposely designed to improve people's wellbeing. We openly discuss mental health and wellbeing in my business and I have completed mental health awareness training etc. I am also a former NHS Director with qualifications in stress management and wellbeing. My bio can be viewed at www.celiagaze.com
(Yorkshire & The Humber)
I aim to help change the mentality and stigma that surrounds mental health in our industry. In particular I want to help educate young chefs who we train before entering the industry, and to give them ideas and ways to deal with stress related illness so that they know that there is support out there for them.
I have worked as a chef for the last 20 years across a variety of sectors of the industry including running my own catering company for the last 18 months.
I love what I do but there are side effects to working within the industry, I have worked through stress, time pressure, struggling with work/life balance and have coped with them in a manner of ways some healthy and some not so much, these experience have shaped how I deal and manage these issues today.
I want to create a culture within my business that lines up with the ethos of The Burnt Chef Project to promote, encourage and support the mental wellness within my team.
I’m honoured to be a Burnt Chef ambassador and to be able to support and promote the fantastic work being done by Kris and his team.
Ever since I could crawl my favourite place to be was the kitchen. I am grateful to have a job where I can bring happiness through food and an escape from reality through the palette. Cooking is a never ending learning path which is the beauty of it.
I started working in small, local restaurants and bakeries, working up to Michelin-starred ventures through hard work, passion and sacrifices. I’ve met some inspiring souls and mentors on this journey who have made me mentally and physically stronger in the kitchen and away from the stoves. We chefs are all adrenaline junkies at heart or we wouldn’t be in this industry, but I have experienced first-hand the negative aspects of working in a high-pressure environment.
Mental health is an issue that should be spoken about out loud. I’m honoured to be part of this collective of chefs uniting together to fight against this silenced stigma.
I work in Southampton, Hampshire and I have worked in the industry on and off since I left school, training as a Chef and then moving into front of house. I now work as part of the Management Team as the Night Manager for 3 hotels. I have moved to other sectors but always returned to an industry I love and have a passion for.
I’ve seen first hand the impact this industry can have on people’s mental health. I’ve known so many people struggle, including myself. It's only now, with The Burnt Chef leading the way, that I can see actual change within our great industry.
I totally believe in the ethos of the project and fully understand how debilitating mental health issues can be and this is why I arranged the WalkAgainstStigma2021 to help raise awareness, vital funds and to fight the stigma around mental health.
As a Head chef in a country pub I feel it is my duty to f*ck the stigma around mental health in the industry. With both service staff and kitchen staff.
I'll often discuss with anyone my recent struggles of losing family members which resulted in me leaving the industry just before Covid-19. But now I'm back and I'm back with spirit and determination to serve good food and to do so with happy guys and girls.
Happy staff=happy food!
I have been a chef for over 30 years and absolutely love my job and everything about it. I also believe this is the best industry to be in.
One of my goals is to help create a positive mindset where learning, training and development comes naturally to everyone in the kitchen and everyone has a desire to succeed and fulfill their own goals.
However, as an industry we must all come together to crush the stigma over mental health and encourage people to talk & open up. Having suffered myself I fully understand the importance of talking.
I started working in kitchens when I was 16. I was young, naive and had no idea what I had got myself into. 11 years later, I realise how different my experiences could have been if I had had someone guide me through my first few years. I have experienced and witnessed abuse both mental and physical, as well as drug and alcohol abuse.
I’m now 3 years sober. I am a head chef at a restaurant in my hometown and I want to help change how young chefs are employed and trained- to highlight pitfalls in the trade, to watch out for dangers in the industry and teach them to navigate the kitchen knowing their self worth.
I want to keep working against the issues in this industry and help show that abuse, threats and hot headed behaviour in hospitality is not the best way to motivate staff. And I want to see what people can accomplish together.
I have been in the hospitality industry for 13 years on a national and international level working in a variety of fine dining restaurants, pubs, 5*hotels and private catering companies.
I have witnessed many mental health issues that our industry faces and I'm glad to see that we are finally addressing these problems. I have had several chefs within my teams that have had mental health issues and I strongly believe that I could make a change alongside the Burnt Chef Project.
Together we can influence perception of mental health within the industry we all love.
The awareness of how mental health affects this industry will be essential and the continued work of the Burnt Chef Project is invaluable to me.