The 'FairKitchens' Movement Addresses The Unhealthy Culture In Today's Kitchens

On this episode of The Barron Report, Paul talks with Chef Kelly Fields of Willa Jean in New Orleans, Chef Naama Tamir of Lighthouse in New York City, and Chef Einav Gefen Executive Chef at Unilever Food Solutions to talk about the 'FairKitchens' movement, driven by Unilever Food Solutions. 

The 'FairKitchens' movement is a response to cultural issues that we have seen spotlighted in recent months in our industry. But the truth is a lot of these issues have been around since the beginning.

The mission is to empower chefs and foodservice leaders to create a culture within their operations to facilitate a positive, sustainable workplace. 

" make this an attractive industry, to make it sustainable, a cultural shift needs to happen in how we run kitchens and consequently how we run restaurants in general," says Chef Gefen. 

The idea is to create kitchens that are "progressive kitchens" built upon an agreed value system.  "T.E.A.M.S." stands for; Talk openly, Excite passion, Act as one, Make time, and Say 'good job'. 

Chef Kelly Fields runs a "progressive kitchen" and says when she is building a team, "...the most important thing that I approach… is that we are all one team - My team is empowered to act as one..."

If you are part of a kitchen, you know about the pitfalls. According to Unilever Food Solutions research, young people are leaving the industry. Their research shows that 60 percent of young chefs feel that there is little opportunity for career progression, 74 percent feel sleep deprived to the point of exhaustion and one in four have experienced physical abuse. 

"...Lighthouse is a human-centric restaurant,"  Chef Tamir says. "We pay a lot of attention to the well-being and mental state of our staff." Chef Tamir makes sure to give everyone an opportunity to be heard so that they can express any issues that they may be having.   

To learn more listen to the podcast above and visit


09:21 - What Is State Of The Workforce?
12:30 - Connecting The Dots. 
14:45 - The Community's Perspective. 
17:30 - T.E.A.M.S.
29:08 - What's Next?

01:25 - 'FairKitchens' Mission.
03:31 - Chef Kelly Fields' Team Building Philosophy. 
05:17 - The Research.
07:27 - Pay Attention To The Well-Being Of Your Staff.


A Chef's Day Off And How to Make the Most of it

A Chef's Day Off And How to Make the Most of it

A day out of the kitchen is the opportunity to learn and explore. Most days' challenges include a broken dish machine, two call-outs, and the spastic general manager going crazy about the latest safety audit, leaving you little time to bend the pages of Bread is Gold or Food Lab or Ivan Ramen, or a kick over to the GreenMarket. 

So how do you keep up and make the most of sacred days off? 

Jostling every drop of the often-sparse time away — “What is a day off?” said Aughtum Slavin, event coordinator at Emery’s Catering in Providence — from the restaurant, it means exploring new learning opportunities, doing street-level research, and uncontrived downtime.

Books Still Rule

We love our internet connectivity and the easy answers we can fetch with it. Exploring other cooks’ narratives is often the spark to branch out. And, yes, we still love the classic, bound, page-turning, printed book format. These books should be owned to pass along to your newest restaurant kin. 

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