“There’s a Sisyphean nature to the work,” says Strack, who studied psychology before becoming a restaurateur. “It’s accepting and welcoming, but at the same time, there’s an unrelenting nature, which is going to find you out sooner or later. Restaurants are creative and artistic communities with a higher tolerance for eccentric behavior. People are drawn here because it’s an alternative lifestyle. It’s fundamentally different than a 9 to 5 job.”—Kara Baskin
Hours before the release of the 2016 Michelin Guide, 44-year-old chef Benoit Violier took his own life. Violier’s restaurant Restaurant, de l’Hôtel de Ville, in Switzerland got three Michelin stars in 2015 and ranked at the top of France’s La Liste guide.
Violier’s tragic death has reignited the conversation about stresses that chefs face in kitchens. Kat Kinsman writes about food and mental illness and is an editor at the website Tasting Table. Kinsman talks to Good Food about her new project Chefs with Issues, an online repository collecting first-hand accounts about working in restaurants.
“Making people happy…that includes the people we cook for, the people we cook with, and most importantly, the people each of us is becoming every single day, while working the stressful confines of a restaurant kitchen. We need to make ourselves happy first.”—Chris Hill
“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.”