Anna Haugh: 'Kitchen Culture Has to Change'

From Fine Dining Lovers - November 7, 2017

Chef Anna Haugh says the culture of silence in kitchens, whether around workplace bullying or mental health issues has to change if restaurants are to attract and retain great chefs.

Taking to the stage at this years Food on the Edge symposium in Galway, Ireland, Haugh, who is Executive Chef at Londons Bob Bob Ricard and has previously worked under the likes of Gordon Ramsayand Phil Howard, described her shame at not having spoken up about a prolonged campaign of workplace bullying she witnessed as a young chef. What made it so hard, was the silence, she says.

Chefs need to be braver and she made an oath, she says, that when she was eventually in charge, her kitchen would not be run in such an intimidating, toxic atmosphere. Respect breeds respect, bullying breeds bullyingThere's not enough kindness in kitchens. Every great chef should be kind and strong.

Addressing chefs mental health, Haugh says the key to handling the pressure of the kitchen is having someone to talk to. Haugh admits she has been lucky to have a strong support network of friends and family, but there needs to be a better social infrastructure within kitchens, especially when it comes to tackling issues like substance abuse. As a young chef you do often feel unheard, she says.

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