What is the Burnt Chef project?
The Burnt Chef Project is founded by Kris Hall from Nose 2 Tail photography. Kris has worked alongside the catering industry for many years whilst at Country Fare, where he spoke to chefs on a daily basis as well as buyers and other catering staff members. He had built long-standing relationships with many people and as some became friends, he got to witness the long hours and industry pressures placed on the shoulders of chefs at all levels. He wanted to make a difference in the hospitality industry because he has seen first hand how mental health has taken a toll on friends & colleagues lives within the industry.
Kris uses his skills of photography to take simple, poignant, black and white portraits of each chef who wishes to support the project. This project is to signify one thing ‘you don’t know what is going on behind closed doors'. Kris will use these portraits as an opportunity to raise money for the charity Mind. In order to raise funds, Kris is arranging charity galleries that will showcase the chefs, which will create a support network for hospitality professionals.
I used to neglect my mental health as I was too embarrassed to ask for help or just not really sure what is wrong with me, some days I felt like I was going mad.
I remember a day when I was a young pastry chef working at Carey’s Manor back in my 20’s I was writing a dessert menu and it took almost an hour to write it. Looking back I can now see I was suffering from anxiety and that I had brain fog where I couldn’t think. This is quite often a symptom for myself when I struggle with anxiety, everything is so much harder to do and takes twice as long. I have had serval mental health breakdowns that only close friends and family know about. The burnt chef project has given me, and no doubt others, the confidence to talk about it publicly. I want everyone to know there is help out there. I still struggle at times and that's okay, the counselling I have received over the years has helped immensely. Also, I have learnt if I am having a rough day, it’s not going to last forever even though I still suffer from panic attacks, brain fogs and many symptoms of anxiety & depression.
As I’ve opened up over the years to close friends I realise I am not the only one who has experienced this. I expect in a kitchen of 10 chefs there are 2 or 3 that have had the same experience, but are too nervous or embarrassed to talk about it. I plead with you, talk about it, try and get the help that you deserve, then your life will become a little easier and more enjoyable to live each day.