Category Archives: Media

On the Radio: The Front Burner

The Front Burner Podcast

“Mental illness, psychological disorders, and substance abuse have been a part of the DNA of professional kitchens for generations. Often glamorized or joked about, and just as often swept under the runners, they are rarely taken head-on for the serious challenge they represent to both individuals and the industry. Writer and Tasting Table Editor at-Large Kat Kinsman (author of the forthcoming Hi, Anxiety) has launched the “Chefs with Issues” project, founded on an online survey for food professionals, to tackle this subject. Kat joins Jimmy and Andrew to talk about the project and the observations it has yielded to date, along with chefs Frank Crispo (of NYC’s Crispo and an industry veteran) and Jesse Schenker (of NYC’s Recette and The Gander), who wrote about his own struggles with many of these issues in his memoir All or Nothing. All that plus the week’s headlines.”

Listen to the episode on Heritage Radio Network

The front burner

“For me, being in the kitchen was like taking a Xanax. I finally had an outlet for all of the emotions that were too uncomfortable for me to really feel. I had never known what to do with those feelings. In the kitchen I had a sense of freedom and space and, most important, order and clarity. It was the only time the restlessness within me subsided.”
—from Jesse Schenker’s memoir “All or Nothing: One Chef’s Appetite for the Extreme

I’ll be live on Andrew Friedman and Jimmy Bradley’s new show “The Front Burner” on Heritage Radio on Thursday, January 14 at 11 ET, along with the afore-quoted chef and author Jesse Schenker and chef Frank Crispo. We’ll be talking about mental health, the food world, and what could and/or should be done to address the crisis. Listen live or download the podcast afterward.

Some early press (and how to help)

Thanks so much to Whitney Filloon and Daniela Galarza of Eater for reaching out to talk about the project and spread the word. At last peek, 270+ people had filled out the mental health survey. I’m going through the responses, contacting people, and will be sharing what I can (while absolutely respecting anonymity).

Whitney asked was what the end goal is. That’s a great question. I know what I want it to be: A bigger movement, or a foundation or a conference addressing the issues around mental health in the food industry, so people can get the help and empathy they deserve. But this is the beginning, and honestly, I’m terrified of screwing this up, when I know how much is at stake.

I know what my skill set is. I’m good at helping people tell their stories, feel safe and find community. If you’d like to tell me yours, either by writing it down or talking to me (I’m setting up interviews), that would be marvelous.

For bigger organizational aspects, I’ll need help. If you would care to volunteer your time or skill, please get in touch.

And if you just want to read or share, that is marvelous, too. It’s why this exists.

Eater: ‘Chefs With Issues’ Hopes to Destigmatize Mental Health Issues in the Restaurant Industry