“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
I am so grateful to and impressed by my friend, chef Daniel Patterson, for writing this raw, honest, gorgeous essay about his struggles with depression and the crisis he sees in the industry he loves. Please share it with the people you know who need it.
“I mean, how many chefs you think are depressed, anyway? Like 95%?”
I was standing in a bar, talking with a chef friend. It was late. We were drinking. And talking about depression.
I’ve always had my ups and downs. Some days were harder than others. Some years were harder than others. I thought it was a more or less normal outgrowth of a flawed character, something I should accept, endure, survive. I never considered medication, though. I wasn’t one of those people.
Then something changed. Instead of bouncing back I fell lower and lower until I began to actually worry. It felt like the blood had been drained from my body and replaced with lead. I was barely functional, and even the simplest conversations required vast amounts of energy. Then one day I discovered that my creativity was dead, inaccessible to me, and that’s when I became scared enough to do something about it. I could live without many things but not that, so I called a doctor and made an appointment.”—Daniel Patterson
Read the rest of Speaking Out at MAD.
“My story is not unique in this business – if you get a good review, you go celebrate; with a bad review, you drown your sorrows. There are free drinks after work, then you all go out for late-night food and drinks, followed by an after party at someone’s house. ‘I’ll go out for just one,’ is a big joke in the industry because everyone knows you can’t have just one drink after work. So many people in the business overindulge regularly and it’s hard to get help – you’re scared of how it’s going to damage your reputation in the industry.”—Danny Mongeon
Read “Coming out of the darkness with chef Danny Mongeon” on Ottowa at Home
“The Scott Howell you don’t know almost died in 2014 after a 1,200-pound charcoal grill was dropped on him during its delivery. That Scott Howell spent the next four months taking doctor-prescribed pain killers, suffering from depression and ending up twice being checked into psychiatric hospitals.
‘I lost my way,’ Howell says. ‘I was a worn-out chef. I was a worn-out person.’
His recovery continues, but these past two years have changed the Scott Howell we thought we knew.”—Andrea Weigl
Read “The true story of a chef’s chef” in The News & Observer
We’re keeping it real this month on Prince Street with a show about anxiety. We understand—it’s summer, time for ice cream and the beach. But we also know that nerves are not seasonal, especially when it comes to… food. On this episode, Phil Rosenthal, creator of the hit sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond and host of the award-winning I’ll Have What Phil’s Having, reveals one of the secrets of his success, and why he thinks more people should be anxious. Find out why author and food editor Kat Kinsman might disagree, especially when it comes to the dangerous kind of anxiety that increasingly afflicts people in the restaurant industry. Chef Erik Ramirez teaches Eden Grinshpan how to make Peruvian ceviche while swapping tips on how to reduce anxiety. Sierra Tishgart steals a moment with chef Jessica Koslow of LA’s Sqirl, who is launching two new projects while publishing her first cookbook at the same time. And Jay McInerney reads from his twelfth book, out this month, his latest novel, Bright Precious Days.
Listen to Live from Prince Street Episode 5: Anxiety online or on iTunes