Eight in 10 chefs have experienced poor mental health during their careers, it has been claimed.
Research carried out by Nestlé Professional sheds new light on the stresses facing those in the catering sector, with half of those working in professional kitchens believing that not enough is being done to support their mental wellbeing in the workplace.
The research shows that the top factors currently contributing to stress are staff shortages (58%), lack of time (43%) and limited budgets (42%).
The lack of daylight was also cited, with 41% of the 100 chefs polled saying it negatively impacted on their wellbeing.
Not only is stress having an impact on the mental wellbeing of those in professional kitchens, but the research suggests it is having a negative impact on wider business operations, with almost three-quarters (73%) of chefs admitting to calling in sick due to stress.
The study identifies creativity as a key factor in reducing stress levels and increasing employee satisfaction with almost nine in 10 chefs in agreement that more freedom to be creative in the kitchen would significantly improve their stress levels.
However, the vast majority (85%) stated that their creativity is being stifled by other pressures in the kitchen.
Andrej Prokes, consultant chef at Nestlé Professional, said: “Being a chef is, I think, one of the most intensely satisfying jobs there is, but it comes at a price. As you’d expect, working at pace in a busy kitchen comes with its challenges, especially when you are putting your heart and soul into creating the perfect dish. However, that price should not be the mental health of chefs and too often these days, it is.”
Trade charity, Hospitality Action, whose work offers a crucial lifeline to those who work in the hospitality industry have welcomed the report, with its chief executive, Mark Lewis, citing a “growing body of evidence that there is still much to do to with regards to mental wellbeing in the kitchen.”
He said: “We applaud anything that can be done to raise awareness of and destigmatise an issue that costs too many lives in our industry.”
The full report from Nestle, which produces the Chef Signature range of cooking tools for chefs, can be downloaded HERE.