Chat amongst yourselves

UPDATE 2/19/17: This’ll be back online soon, I hope. Damned hackers.

Here’s a potentially terrible or excellent idea: Message boards. I’d toyed with the notion of setting up a Facebook group for people to talk about issues they’re facing at work and how it’s affecting their mental wellbeing, but that doesn’t afford anonymity.

So I’m trying out a forum plugin that so far as I can tell, allows people to post with a pseudonym. I’ve set up two boards, one for kitchen staff and one for front of house. I’ll look in occasionally and participate as best I can, but I don’t have the time or energy to moderate, so I’m just trusting that people will self-police and be kind and compassionate to one another. If not, I’ll just take them down.

But from all the private feedback I’ve been getting, I don’t get the sense that it’ll go that way. I’ve heard from hundreds of people in the food industry who are all crying out to share their stories, both to help other people and feel less alone.

Let’s all be excellent to each other and see what happens. (And if someone wants to volunteer to moderate or work out any tech bugs, I would be grateful.)

Visit the message boards and please let me know if you run into any issues posting.

NPR: Chasing An Ideal

“As chef Eric Ziebold tells Morning Edition’s Renee Montagne, the world of elite restaurants is notoriously intense.

‘In the kitchen there’s an incredible physical pressure; it’s not uncommon for it to be an 18-hour day,’ says Ziebold, a Washington, D.C.-based restaurateur who for years was chef de cuisine at Thomas Keller’s Napa Valley restaurant, The French Laundry, which has three Michelin stars.

‘Outside of that, you get into the pressure of everything that it means to be operating a restaurant that isn’t just at the highest level, but a restaurant that is chasing an ideal,’ he says.”

Read and listen to ‘Chasing An Ideal,’ World-Class Chefs Find Themselves Under Extreme Pressure on NPR.

The Front Burner: Pressure Cooker

“The apparent suicide of three-star Michelin chef Benoît Violier this week called attention to one of the facts of kitchen life, especially at the highest level: the intense and often unending pressure that defines the profession. Here to weigh in are chefs Michael Laiskonis, Paul Liebrandt, and Matthias Merges. We examine some key issues that go hand in hand with ambition: What draws a young cook to the most demanding settings? What are the costs of originality, brilliance, and acclaim? Will anything less get the job done? An unflinching look into what drives our finest chefs and whether or not anything will, or should, change.”

Listen to this episode of The Front Burner with Jimmy and Andrew at Heritage Radio Network.