Why do so many restaurant workers struggle with mental health issues and what can be done to help? Food and culture writer Kat Kinsman of Time’s Extra Crispy and NYC restaurateur Will Guidara (Eleven Madison Park, NoMad, Made Nice) talk to host Billy Shore about hospitality and mental health challenges in the food world. Kinsman launched the website Chefs with Issues in 2016 to help bring attention to this problem. “I always tell people, ‘either you have your line cook cry in front of you, or you cry at their funeral’,” she says. Guidara agrees. “Our industry struggles with embracing vulnerability… that’s what gets us,” he says.
Kinsman’s book, Hi, Anxiety! Life with a bad case of nerves, tries to show the reality of what anxiety looks like. “It’s real, it’s pervasive, and has affected every area of my life,” she shares. Guidara talks about the conditions in restaurants that can bring out stress, anxiety and more serious mental health conditions. “Any time you combine… relentless intensity – not only in expectations but in the number of hours you’re working – with an environment where it’s not cool to look weak leads to this situation,” he says. “Our profession needs people doing the things you’re doing now more than ever before,” he tells Kinsman gratefully.
Listen to this critically important conversation that explores mental health and what is being done to help the people who nourish us.