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
Read “What’s Killing Our Best Chefs?” on Medium.
“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 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.
“There are several well-established outlets for chefs and other restaurant workers who need to deal with the crushing stress and demanding hours of their jobs: Alcohol and illegal drugs are big. So are screaming fits, or simply walking off the job in the middle of service. Those are the clichés, anyway, and they aren’t exactly healthy or sustainable methods for coping. Now, though, a growing number of people working within the industry say it’s time to pay attention to this problem and give workers access to programs that actually promote mental and physical wellness.”—Keenan Steiner
Read “Meet the People Working to Improve the Lives of Restaurant Employees” at Grub Street