Worse than getting burned? Losing your mind! Why Mental Health Matters

In today’s Chef AF episode, our host Chef Jim Berman speaks candidly with Chef Curtis Gamble of Pittsburgh’s Station restaurant about a very important topic not only within the restaurant industry but in society today.

Mental Health.

The two talk about the importance of having some sort of anchor outside of the work place, establishing open lines of communication about each individual’s goals, and simply adopting healthier lifestyle habits.

“I think on a day-to-day basis, as I’ve grown older… I’ve kind of calmed down, you know? To be totally candid, quit drinking, things like that… I’ve managed to keep more of a calmness about the kitchen work, a calm kind of intensity to it?,” says Chef Gamble. “And I think that’s translated well to keeping communication open… allowing people to be like candid with how they feel about certain things… the work loads that they have and things like that.”

Listen to the podcast above to hear the full conversation and learn some tips about how to better communicate with your fellow crew members!


Show Notes:

  • 2:26 - Meeting Chef Curtis Gamble

  • 3:50 - How is your head?

  • 5:47 - Work/Life Balance

  • 13:06 - BOH Hospitality

  • 16:59 - How to get your crew to feel comfortable to talk?

  • 23:40 - Advice for young chefs?

  • 26:49 - Blue Collar Work

Hosted by:

Jim Berman

JIM BERMAN

Expert Columnist / Show Host


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Foodable Network Launches Chef AF a New Podcast

Today, Foodable is launching a new podcast — Chef AF, It’s All Food!— with Chef Jim Berman.

You may have already found out about the newest podcast addition to our show library, through The Barron Report’s latest piece where listeners had the chance to learn more about the chef and host.

Chef Berman has not only been a longtime Foodable expert contributor, but he’s also been a food writer for multiple publications while simultaneously working in and out of kitchens across the U.S.

Now, as the host of Chef AF, Chef Berman will have the chance to get his peers to “talk shop,” as he likes to say, in order to help other chefs and restaurant industry professionals navigate the wonderful yet complex kitchen life.

Chef AF, It’s All Food! is officially launching on Foodable Network today and it will soon be available in iTunes, Google Play and Spotify and other podcast listening platforms.

Listen to the first episode above to meet Berman and learn what you can expect to get from this new podcast!

Dominique Crenn Speaks Out About the Challenges Plaguing Chefs Today

Dominique Crenn is one of the world's greatest culinary masterminds. She has repeatedly landed on in the top five of our Top 100 chefs list and is the top woman chef on this coveted list.

She is also the only female chef in the U.S. to have earned three Michelin stars for her renowned restaurant Atelier Crenn in San Francisco, CA.

And her list of achievements just goes on.

She has appeared in the popular Netflix documentary series Chef's Table, was named Esquire’s “Chef of the Year” in 2008, Eater's chef of the year in 2015, won the Iron Chef America competition in 2012, and was given a James Beard Award for Best Chef just this year.

Like most female chefs in this male-dominated industry, there have been challenges.

"When I started to work in the kitchen, there's not a lot of women that were working and I didn't try to pay attention to that," said Crenn to "NPR." "I had to work harder than others and I was a bit picked on sometimes. But I'm a very strong person. Nobody touched me."

Although she is deemed one of the greatest chefs today, Crenn still is treated differently because she is a woman.

"She has been successful because she does have talent and she has worked hard. But let's be honest, also because she has enormous charisma. She's beautiful and has that French accent," said Michael Buer, San Francisco restaurant critic to "The New York Times" who also said, "she cooks the way men are cooking."

Crenn, rightfully so, saw these comments as "degrading."

"I think he never should have said that. ... Saying that about me is a little bit degrading. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but that should not be a factor in anything. And yes, charisma — what is charisma? I'm trying to be genuine every time I speak or every time I'm out there. Maybe you call it charisma, but this is who I am," said Crenn to "NPR."

But thanks to the #MeToo movement and strong leaders like Crenn, the industry is changing for the better. Crenn humbly recognizes that she is making a difference.

"I am just a little fish in the sea. But I do understand that everything that I do could have a little impact," said Crenn.

Read Crenn's full interview at "NPR" now.

We recently interviewed another chef and restaurant operator Jennifer Kim making a name for herself as a female leader in the industry. Her restaurant in Chicago named Passerotto opened last year with the goal of serving a modern take on traditional Korean food. Watch the video below to learn more about her journey in the restaurant industry.

6 Steps Towards Solving the Chef Shortage Problem

6 Steps Towards Solving the Chef Shortage Problem

It’s no secret.

I think we’ve all heard by now that there’s a “shortage of qualified cooks and chefs” across North America, the U.K. and Australia specifically. If you’re not experiencing it first hand as an operator or chef, you’ve surely read one of the numerous articles on why it’s happened.

How big is the problem? It’s got to the point now where we’re seeing operators offer financial incentives to the general public who refer a chef to them.  We've got to be realistic and address these issues now before it’s too late!

Before we go yelling about ‘millennials’ again, we can’t blame them wholeheartedly for this one. Owning a restaurant has become easier since the economy recovered and establishments are opening at a rate that the pool of qualified cooks just can’t keep up with.

When we then pair that with the ‘history of harassment’ within the kitchen, the ‘low wages,’ and the ‘long hours’— what we have is a bursted bubble. These problems are not the fault of millennials, many of these issues started before they were even born!

As an industry, let’s stop complaining, let’s stop feeding excuses, and let’s collectively come up with winning solutions. These solutions may not be for every concept and size of kitchen, they may not drive results overnight (it will take time), but it’s a start and we have to start somewhere.

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Restaurant Kitchen Culture: Staff Family Meals

Consumers would be surprised to see what really happens in the kitchen. Popular televisions have bought some of the real nitty gritty kitchen culture to light– it is anything but elegant– more like organized chaos. Behind the scenes at restaurants all around the world, once the guests have left, the restaurant staff joins together to have a "family meal." The conversations often get rowdy, the alcohol gets flowing and its finally time for the cooks, servers and restaurant managers to enjoy a meal. 

What is the staff dinners like at your restaurant? Read more about this restaurateur's staff dinner experiences here