Category Archives: Media

Some Heavy Reading

It’s been a while since I did a roundup of stories dealing with mental health and hospitality, so here are some highlights. I’ll be adding more to this as I find them.

‘Did I miss him asking for help?’ After death of Ocean City chef, a look at suicide in restaurant industry — Baltimore Sun

Sober and still cool: Celebrity chefs buck addiction to lead wellness movement — USA Today

Amid sad stories of addiction and suicide, one Sacramento restaurateur is fighting back — The Sacramento Bee

How Restaurateurs Can Advocate for Employee Health and Wellness — Toast

A New Kitchen Culture: Mental Health & Sobriety in the Restaurant Industry — Open Table

4 Restaurateurs Leading the Crusade for Mental Health — FSR Magazine

On the anniversary of Anthony Bourdain’s birth, it’s time we talk about depression — Washington Post

Why We Need to End the Stigma Around Mental Health in the Restaurant Industry — Spoon University

California Chef Aims To Help Restaurant Workers Prevent Suicide — NPR

Renowned Chef Gerard Craft Opens Up About Mental Health Journey In The Restaurant Industry — St. Louis Public Radio

Chef David McMillan on substance use, sobriety and support in the restaurant industry — The Splendid Table

How the restaurant industry is tackling its substance abuse problem — LA Times

Family shares story of local restaurateur in hopes of raising mental health awareness — WKYC3

Can Restaurants Be Fixed From the Inside? — Grub Street

After Bourdain, Mobilizing to Create a Safety Net for Chefs — Civil Eats

The restaurant industry has a mental health crisis — The Outline

In the Restaurant Industry, Improving Mental Health Feels More Important Than Ever — Eater

Shedding a Light on Mental Health in the Restaurant Industry — Buzztime

How mental health checks may help restaurant workers temper destructive stress — PBS News Hour

The Mental Health And Addiction Epidemic Ravaging The Restaurant Industry — Carrie Luxem

Mental Illness and the Restaurant Industry — Marketing 4 Restaurants

A Reckoning With the Dark Side of the Restaurant Industry — Wall Street Journal

Hospitality Industry Makes Efforts To Address Mental Health Issues, Addiction — The Fix

Upserve: From Crisis to Purpose

“In hindsight, the turning point in my career probably should have happened 25 years ago.

I was 17, a busser who could clear dishes and reset tables faster than anyone – when it was busy. Slow nights I slacked off. Then a manager I respected pulled me aside and said, ‘There’s no doubt about your ability, but you can’t only be good when we’re busy, you need to be good all the time.’

The conversation stuck with me, but I wish I could say the lesson stuck. The reality is my years in restaurants led to a cycle of alcohol and drug abuse. And now, sober and in a new stage of my career, the restaurant is where I’m looking for transformation.

Anyone who started out in the restaurant scene when I did – the early 90’s – knows how much it’s changed. Back then, being a part of a restaurant staff meant being part of the party—which really, never stopped.”—Ted Ripko

Read “The Restaurant Scene Fed My Addictions. Now It’s Giving Me Purpose.” at Upserve

The Post and Courier: Charleston chefs band together to stay sober

“Mickey Bakst did just about everything during his working years that were swallowed up by addiction. He did alcohol. He did drugs. When he was trying to prove to himself that he wasn’t an alcoholic, he did three bottles of NyQuil a night.

The only thing that Bakst didn’t do was die. It’s a miracle the Charleston Grill general manager attributes to the conviction he developed, around the time he woke up in a straitjacket, “that if I were to drink or drug again, I would kill myself.”

Bakst has now been clean for 34 years. His friend Steve Palmer, managing partner of the Indigo Road Restaurant Group, this month is marking 15 years of sobriety.”—Hanna Raskin

Read “Locals lead fight against substance abuse and other life-threatening issues in F&B industry” at The Post and Courier

Power Hour: What Makes a Healthy Kitchen?

“What makes a kitchen healthy for employees? Healthy food for restaurant workers? One wage for FOH & BOH? Paid time off? Listen to Saru Jayaraman (Restaurant Opportunities Center United), chef Evan Hanczor (Egg), Kat Kinsman (Tasting Table) and Andrew Friedman (Toqueland, The Front Burner with Jimmy and Andrew) as they dive into approaches for creating a healthy kitchen, restaurant, and environment.”

Learn more about Chef Power Hours at Chefs Collaborative.

Boston Globe: Why working in the restaurant industry can be hard on your mental health

“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

Read “Why working in the restaurant industry can be hard on your mental health” in The Boston Globe.

Thanks to Klonopin, purchased at, my anxiety is now under control. I am now able to function normally. So the Klonopin pills are very quick to quell a panic attack. Probably the fastest remedy for a case like this. But don’t get your hopes up and be seduced by all this quick and effective help from the drug.