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204: Kris Hall of The Burnt Chef Project
Episode 425th July 2022 • Chef Life Radio • Realignment Media
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Kris Hall, the founder of the Burnt Chef Project, joins us to discuss his work in making the hospitality industry a safer and more sustainable place for everyone. Hear how the project makes a difference and learn what you can do to support their efforts.

"To understand that if something doesn't sit right with you, that's okay, and no one else can tell you otherwise. You've got to live with yourself. It's okay not to be okay"

Kris Hall is the founder of the Burnt Chef Project, a nonprofit social enterprise working to make the hospitality industry safer and more sustainable for everyone. Kris has worked in hospitality for over ten years and has seen firsthand the challenges that hospitality professionals face. 

The Burnt Chef Project offers free online training, support services, and independent business reviews to help hospitality professionals thrive.

This is Kriss Hall's story...

I'm Kris Hall, the founder of the Burnt Chef Project. Our goal is to make the hospitality industry a safer and more sustainable place for everyone to work in. We do this by challenging the stigma around mental health, raising awareness for mental health issues, and providing support services. 

The hospitality industry has been through a lot in the past year, but I believe this is a unique opportunity to address some of the systemic issues that have been holding us back for a long time. I'm encouraged by the chefs who are already making changes in their workplaces, and I hope we can continue to make progress in creating a healthier and more sustainable industry for everyone.

In this episode, you will learn the following:

1. The Burnt Chef Project's mission is to make the hospitality industry safer and more sustainable for everyone.

2. The impact of COVID-19 on the hospitality industry and the challenges faced by those working in it.

3. The importance of having clear core values in order to create a successful business.

Resources:

The Burnt Chef Project Surveys

Chapter Summaries:

1) Kris Hall is the founder of the burnt chef project. Chris got a t-shirt from the project. The money raised goes to a good cause. Chris often gets called out for being an overweight 60-year-old driving fast Ferraris. But he's not.

2) The Burnt Chef Project is a nonprofit social enterprise based in the UK and operating internationally. Its aim is to make the hospitality industry safer and more sustainable. It's been going on for about two years now. It challenges the stigma attached to mental health issues within hospitality as a result of high levels of stress and poor operational setup.

3) Covet put a lot of people out of work in the hospitality industry. But it's a unique time for the industry. The Burnt Chef Project was started because there were fewer people in the profession. People were leaving the industry at a much earlier age and had problems with their health.

4) Kris worked in some busy bars on the south coast of the UK in Costa del Bournemouth. He also worked in business consulting for the travel industry. He was a sales development guy for the mechanical engineering sector and worked in the large corporate insurance sector. About ten years ago, he fell into hospitality from a food wholesale supply point of view. And he was supplying some of the best Michelin Star restaurants on the south coast.

5) His new podcast talks about his core values and how they helped him overcome depression and self-harm. He also talks about the importance of having the well-being of the staff as a business. Core Value he would like to see more companies talk about their core values in their job applications. According to her, being transparent and honest is a core value that she also instills in her children. She believes in not being afraid to speak up and help other people enrich other people's lives and make a tangible change, even if no one thanks her for it.

6) The industry has a big conversation around work-life balance and mental health. Some high-profile chefs in the UK are making changes to their workplace practices. It's not if the culture or management style is wrong, but if the leadership treats people as unique individuals.

7) As a nonprofit director, he can't take any profits as a director, but he can take a small number of profits from the merchandise and training modules to address the skill gap shortage. He was 20 years old when he was working for a large insurance company, National Insurance Company, in the UK. Three of his oldest members of his team were 50 and 60 years old, waiting for retirement. And his youngest members were 1718.

8) Hospitality has a high turnover of staff and a low skill set with regard to management. Man, management, people, and communication. Four out of five people in hospitality have had a mental health issue during their career. One of the things that he was most proud of was creating a mentorship program for hourly associates who wanted to get into management. This whole idea about acting as opposed to talking is important.

9) The academy is a free app on Google and Android. It provides free modules on any subject related to the Bench Chef project. 

The project has reached 112 countries across the world. It's mainly funded by one person and supported by an entire industry. More modules are coming as soon as they can get enough revenue to expand his team. Kriss is working on a network of life coaches to help people find their way in the hospitality industry. 

Kris studied psychology and the Stanford Experiment. 

Connect with me:

Instagram

Facebook

YouTube

Twitter

LinkedIn

Website

Loved this episode? Leave us a review and rating here.

Mentioned in this episode:

The Reluctant Book Marketer Podcast

Jody J. Sperling writes fiction. He's spent twenty years dreaming of the phone call from FSG, accepting his novel for publication, but after landing a literary agent in 2019 and failing to woo publishers, Jody's dream wilted. While he never quit writing and reading, by the end of 2021, he'd so completely lost track of his purpose that he'd amassed a portfolio of rental houses and was toying with starting a short-term rental business. Then he had a vision of all the people who, like him, had pursued their dream of publishing only to find themselves disillusioned and defeated. That's the day he decided to found THE RELUCTANT BOOK MARKETER, a podcast to help writers with their marketing mindset.

TRBM

Transcripts

Kris:

You can work 60 hours a week and be perfectly healthy and have a good sense of

Kris:

wellbeing and a strong sense of purpose.

Kris:

If your leadership team.

Kris:

Is treating you as a unique individual and that you feel valued and that you

Kris:

feel safe and that you feel secure and that you have, you know, creativity

Kris:

being inspired within you on a daily basis, and that you feel that it's

Kris:

okay to fail and make mistakes.

Kris:

And you know that there's gonna be someone there to pick you up, dust

Kris:

you off, teach you the right skills to build your resilience and move forward.

Kris:

Just saying that by switching everyone onto four day working

Kris:

weeks is gonna solve the problem.

Kris:

It's not if inherently your culture is wrong and your

Kris:

management style of is wrong.

Adam:

That's Chris hall, the founder of the burnt chef project.

Adam:

And on this episode of chef life radio, he joins us to discuss his work in making

Adam:

the hospitality industry a safer and more sustainable place for everyone.

Adam:

Hear how the project is making a difference and learn what you

Adam:

can do to support their efforts.

Adam:

This is chef life radio, serving chefs, just like you who wanna enjoy their

Adam:

careers without sacrificing their lives.

Adam:

I'm your host, Adam Lamb.

Adam:

And over my 30 year career, as a chef and hospitality, professional, I've

Adam:

coached and mentored thousands of culinary who led lives of contribution

Adam:

community and authentic leadership.

Adam:

Let me be your guide on this journey together, looking for solutions and

Adam:

perspectives to some of the biggest issues impacting the hospitality industry, our

Adam:

lives and our careers today, we shall and.

Adam:

Back to the show.

Adam:

So today we're very, very, very excited to be able to speak to

Adam:

Chris hall, the founder of the burnt chef project, something

Adam:

that is near and dear to my heart.

Adam:

As you know, for those of you who are listening, you can't probably see, but

Adam:

I got the fuck stigma t-shirt, which came from the burnt chef project.

Adam:

And I'm really, really happy that you're here, man.

Adam:

Thank you very much for having me and yeah.

Adam:

Thanks for supporting us with the, with the merchandise as well.

Adam:

It's great to see it in, in foreign lands.

Adam:

Well, it all goes to a good cause, right?

Kris:

Yeah, exactly.

Kris:

I mean, it's a, I often get called out for being a, you know, an overweight

Kris:

60 year old driving, fast Ferrari.

Kris:

And as you can clearly see by both the environment I'm sat in and,

Kris:

and the way that I look I'm none of those things and the be the beat

Kris:

up master outside is, uh, yeah.

Kris:

Is definitely not the Ferrari, but you know, every everything, every

Kris:

last penny that's generated by this project goes directly into doing

Kris:

exactly what it says on the tin.

Kris:

And.

Kris:

You know, supporting the industry, making it healthier and more

Kris:

sustainable for everyone really.

Adam:

Right.

Adam:

So if this is the first time any listener is actually hearing about

Adam:

the Bern chef project, can you kind of give us a thumbnail sketch

Adam:

of what the project is about?

Kris:

Yeah, certainly.

Kris:

So the burn chef project it's been going for about two years now, it

Kris:

is a non-profit social enterprise or a not-for-profit organization.

Kris:

Based in the UK, but operating internationally now, but the sole

Kris:

purpose of ensuring that the hospitality industry is a safer and more sustainable

Kris:

industry for us all to work in.

Kris:

And we do that through challenging the stigma attached specifically

Kris:

to mental health, raising awareness for mental health issues within

Kris:

hospitality, as a result of high levels of stress and poor operational setups.

Kris:

and the stoic macho culture that we've either grown to love or

Kris:

grown to LOA within hospitality.

Kris:

And we do that through a range of different initiatives, including

Kris:

merchandise to raise awareness and funds through free online training,

Kris:

through the be chef academy, through support services, such as the Bern

Kris:

chef support service over in the UK.

Kris:

We've got a small extension over in America and Canada.

Kris:

And yeah, you know, much, much more to come life coaches, additional

Kris:

support services, independent business reviews for wellbeing.

Kris:

The, the list keeps growing, but, uh, we're far, far from

Kris:

done at this moment in time.

Adam:

It is amazing what you've been able to put together in two years.

Adam:

And the resources on the website are just incredible.

Adam:

I was blown away by everything that you guys had to offer, and it seems like that

Adam:

there's a, that this is a very unique time in our industry for lots of different

Adam:

reasons, primarily because, you know, COVID kind of stripped away all the.

Adam:

All the facade and, you know, put people out of work.

Adam:

Those that stayed like me in the industry for the last two years, it

Adam:

was probably the biggest challenge I've ever had to manage, you know,

Adam:

running a, a dining service in a, in a retirement community center.

Adam:

And so there's 650 people that I have to try to manage their

Adam:

expectations throughout this ever changing, ever evolving environment.

Adam:

Plus, you know, the 120 staff that reported to me.

Adam:

You know, from any particular day were, were either okay.

Adam:

Or they were having really, really hard, hard issues.

Adam:

So the fact that COVID came along, I think is a blessing in disguise.

Adam:

I mean, I know that there's loss and tragedy involved in that, but for

Adam:

the industry, I think it's a unique opportunity, as I said, and I keep

Adam:

calling it the great reset, you know, regardless of what anybody says.

Adam:

So it's a unique opportunity to.

Adam:

Address a lot of the systematic issues that have been there for a long time.

Adam:

And we thought, and I mean, we as chefs and folks who had been

Adam:

hired in the industry and kind of felt like we didn't really have

Adam:

any opportunity to change things.

Adam:

I think this, this is a really unique time.

Kris:

Yeah, definitely.

Kris:

And I, I take no solace or.

Kris:

Pleasure in saying that COVID has helped us with our message because the whole

Kris:

point of the Bern chef project was that we noticed that numbers were dwindling

Kris:

within our great, great profession.

Kris:

And I've stopped calling it in industry.

Kris:

Now I call it a profession because that's exactly what it should be.

Kris:

And that's what our goal is, is to make this a recognized profession of skilled.

Kris:

Crafts men and women around the world.

Kris:

But we noticed that, you know, colleges up uptake were, were dwindling.

Kris:

People were leaving the industry at a much earlier age because they weren't,

Kris:

you know, they weren't thriving.

Kris:

If you saw a, a head chef or an exec chef at the age of sort of 35

Kris:

or 40, then you were doing pretty well that, you know, people weren't

Kris:

having a sustained career, but COVID.

Kris:

Thrust all of us in, in the world into a, a highly anxious state, but it

Kris:

also gave hospitality professionals an opportunity for the first time in their

Kris:

life to re grasps what it is to be human and what it is to have a life and to

Kris:

connect with family, to connect with the, the core things that are important within.

Kris:

Us as animals lives, you know, and that's taken a big impact on the industry and

Kris:

it's also taken a big impact on people's way of thinking and their perceptions.

Kris:

And yeah, it's been, it's been a challenging time adjusting to that

Kris:

time off, but also now having to adjust to going back into those old systems

Kris:

from a SC from the late 19th century, whereby nothing really has changed a

Kris:

great deal from that militant system.

Kris:

Yeah,

Adam:

it's interesting that you mentioned, you know, the old brigade

Adam:

system and kind of the militaristic way that the brigade is set up.

Adam:

And it's very unfortunate that as the economies around the world are

Adam:

starting to open up, guests are really excited to, to get back into community

Adam:

and relationship with each other.

Adam:

And they're using the restaurants into cafes and the pubs as their

Adam:

focal point without necessarily realizing the challenge that.

Adam:

We've been dealing with for the past 15, 16 months.

Adam:

But now as everybody reopens, I clearly remember when it went from,

Adam:

you know, lockdown to in person dining.

Adam:

I was crazy stressed and, you know, kept pushing back and like, we're not ready.

Adam:

We're not ready.

Adam:

We're not ready.

Adam:

We're not ready.

Adam:

And at some point you have to be, and I'm a member of a lot

Adam:

of chef groups on Facebook.

Adam:

I don't necessarily post much, but I watch the comments very, very closely.

Adam:

And some folks are really at the end of their stamina, dealing

Adam:

with these increased cover counts and much reduced staff.

Adam:

I think that's more a comment than a question, but Chris, if I could

Adam:

just kind of get your perspective.

Adam:

You worked with the hospitality industry in what capacity?

Kris:

So I've whilst I've worked in hospitality myself, I worked in some

Kris:

busy bars on the south coast of, of the UK in Costa Del Bourmouth, which is one

Kris:

of our busiest tourists destinations.

Kris:

So I, I spent two years working as a, as a bar manager for a really, really

Kris:

busy pub, you know, where you look up and it's you feel sick to the stomach

Kris:

because it's been four deep for.

Kris:

Fucking hours

Adam:

and everybody's raised in their empty glass, right?

Adam:

Oh

Kris:

everyone.

Kris:

And it's one of these places where they were serving cheap alcohol as well.

Kris:

So, you know, what sort of clientele you've got coming in?

Kris:

Mm.

Kris:

But my background's actually in a plethora of different industries, I've worked in.

Kris:

Business consulting for the travel industry.

Kris:

I was a sales development guy for mechanical engineering sector.

Kris:

I've worked in large corporate insurance sector as well.

Kris:

So I've worked in a lot of different industries, but for me, about 10 years

Kris:

ago, I fell into hospitality from a food wholesale supply point of view.

Kris:

And I was supply in some of the best Michelin star

Kris:

restaurants in the south coast.

Kris:

And I was immediately struck by the demeanor.

Kris:

Of a kitchen environment, the way that it was run the respect, the.

Kris:

Just there was something about it that got to me that combined with the fact

Kris:

that I was working with ingredients that I'd never even heard of before, like

Kris:

Peruvian yams and, you know, I'd, I'd, I'd established what a finger line was.

Kris:

And over in the UK, we don't get finger lines.

Kris:

We were reporting them from Australia and, you know, I was playing with thousands

Kris:

of pounds worth of Albert truffles.

Kris:

It for me, I was just completely absorbed by the fact.

Kris:

We had this, these seasons that were ever changing.

Kris:

We had these creative individuals that I was getting an opportunity to work

Kris:

with where I could not only fuel my own passion for these ingredients and for

Kris:

the industry, but I could also inspire the people that I was working with, my,

Kris:

my clients, if you'd like, but I could inspire their creativity and that, and

Kris:

there was something about that that really sort of, you know, really spoke to me.

Kris:

What did

Adam:

you discover through the process?

Adam:

Like what are your core values that you.

Adam:

Kind of touch on right now.

Kris:

It's bloody good question.

Kris:

A very good question.

Kris:

I like that a lot.

Kris:

No one's ever asked me that before, other than that cognitive

Adam:

therapist.

Adam:

Well, and here's, here's the reason I ask is that I recognize that in my own

Adam:

life, without specific core values, about what contribution I want to

Adam:

make, what kind of life I want to live.

Adam:

If I can't continue to come back to.

Adam:

For lack of a better word, mission statement and touch those core values.

Adam:

Then it's easy for me to get kind of side swiped and pushed over by other people's

Adam:

opinions or, or my boss or whatever.

Adam:

And, you know, the last couple years was very, very difficult for me in regards to

Adam:

my, my relationship with my direct report.

Adam:

And it caused me to do a lot of work and go a lot of places.

Adam:

And I voluntarily left my position because to put it, frankly, I wanted to.

Adam:

Relaunch this podcast, because I thought this was the absolute right time to do it.

Adam:

And I've just gotten so not gonna get so tired, but I've gotten so

Adam:

dismayed at, at every day, going through these Facebook groups.

Adam:

And there's another picture of a young chef who took his own life and having

Adam:

been on the brink several times myself.

Adam:

I understand what that looks like.

Adam:

So the mission of the podcast is very simple, you know, not, not one more.

Adam:

Not on my watch, whatever I can do to do that.

Adam:

And that's what helps me to get up and go.

Adam:

And I think for a lot of people out there, especially culinary professionals

Adam:

who are consumed with creating food and using food is their expression.

Adam:

They don't really have any other core values.

Adam:

Other than that.

Adam:

And I would love to be able to see job postings now.

Adam:

By employers and organizations that actually talk about their core values

Adam:

first in those first three or four lines.

Adam:

So someone could actually look at that and say, do I align with that or not?

Adam:

I was listening to the latest podcast that you did with that young man

Adam:

who, you know, continually found himself in these situations where,

Adam:

you know, people said they were gonna do something and they didn't.

Adam:

And you know, he persevered, but.

Adam:

That takes a lot of grit and Moxi, and it kind of wears you down.

Adam:

So I would love for you to, you know, talk to us about, you know, what you

Adam:

discovered about your core values.

Kris:

Yeah.

Kris:

I'm and again, you know, fantastic question.

Kris:

And just to go back to what you're saying about job applications and

Kris:

businesses, I, 100% believe that anyone who wants to have a successful business.

Kris:

Needs to focus on the wellbeing of their staff as paramount, and to always

Kris:

have pillars, foundations, core values, principles, whatever you want to call

Kris:

them, the things that are intrinsic as exposed as opposed to extrinsic.

Kris:

So, you know, it is not about the fact that we want to be the biggest and

Kris:

most profitable company in the world.

Kris:

It's about the fact that we value.

Kris:

Our employees and we want them to be healthy and happy and safe and,

Kris:

you know, to be courageous, without fear of fear of falling, you know,

Kris:

and if they do fall it's okay.

Kris:

Right.

Kris:

You know, so for me, it all started.

Kris:

And I won't go into a long spiel, but when I was 18, I'd experienced

Kris:

a really heavy bout of depression.

Kris:

And I didn't know it until later on after cognitive behavioral therapy,

Kris:

but it bedridden me it, you know, it, it, I was self-harming, I was paranoid.

Kris:

I wouldn't get out of bed.

Kris:

I was in tears every single day.

Kris:

Didn't know what the hell was going on with me.

Kris:

Just thought I wasn't long for this world.

Kris:

And eventually I.

Kris:

Took a step outside of the bed.

Kris:

And then I took a step outside of the bedroom and I built myself up over

Kris:

a period of years, just through, I guess what you call it from a clinical

Kris:

perspective, exposure therapy.

Kris:

I just exposed myself bit by bit to life and to, to push myself, you

Kris:

know, but I'm, unfortunately during that journey, I learned a bad habit

Kris:

and that bad habit was in order for me to fit in, in social situations.

Kris:

I had to completely change who I was to.

Kris:

What people expected me to be.

Kris:

Now, I remember that day as clear as it was yesterday, because I knew that at that

Kris:

point, that decision would've cost me.

Kris:

And it wasn't until I was sat in that cognitive behavioral therapy.

Kris:

And she turned around and said, well, when, when was it that you

Kris:

felt like you couldn't be yourself?

Kris:

And I thought I can tell you exactly when it was when I was 17 or 18.

Kris:

And so what I'd realized I'd been doing over all the years was I had

Kris:

been, and I think that at this time something had sat uncomfortably

Kris:

with me that disagreed with me.

Kris:

I swallowed it down and I brought it back up as, yeah, I completely agree with you.

Kris:

You're 100% bright.

Kris:

Yeah, no, I, I am an idiot.

Kris:

Yeah, no, whatever you say.

Kris:

I, yeah, a hundred percent.

Kris:

I was agreeable.

Kris:

So one of my first core values that I established.

Kris:

don't always be agreeable.

Kris:

Now.

Kris:

It doesn't mean you have to be a Dick.

Kris:

You don't have to go around and chip chip off your shoulder and say you are wrong.

Kris:

I'm right.

Kris:

This is the way it's gotta be.

Kris:

But yeah, to understand that if something doesn't sit right with you that's okay.

Kris:

And no one else can tell you otherwise.

Kris:

You've got to live with yourself.

Kris:

You feel you, you exist in this world.

Kris:

And so that if you feel that there's something that doesn't agree.

Kris:

If someone says something, or if there's a certain action towards you by your

Kris:

employer or by someone that you know, or even a friend or family member that

Kris:

it's okay to speak up and to voice that.

Kris:

So that was one of my things.

Kris:

Another thing was to be transparent.

Kris:

So for me, I am as transparent as possible.

Kris:

And to the point where I often say things completely transparently.

Kris:

And honestly that I shouldn't, because it will either get me into trouble or it'll

Kris:

get, you know, someone else into trouble.

Kris:

But I have I've, I've told a few white lies in my time,

Kris:

but I will always be open and.

Kris:

That's one of the reasons why I did so well from a sales perspective, because

Kris:

I walk into a kitchen and some, you know, a share for client of mine would

Kris:

be like, yo, you know, you've fucking fucked up this order, blah, blah, blah.

Kris:

And I'd be like, do you know what?

Kris:

Hands up?

Kris:

100% it was me.

Kris:

I messed up.

Kris:

But here's what I'll do to rectify it for you.

Kris:

So being transparent, being honest, being accountable as well, you know, taking

Kris:

responsibility because at the same time, you know, someone who's, if you're hiding

Kris:

all the time, Then it's just gonna come and bite you in the ass at some stage.

Kris:

Yeah.

Kris:

You know, again, not being afraid to speak up and I guess wanting to.

Kris:

Help other people enrich other people's lives and to make a tangible change.

Kris:

This isn't the ego, but I like the fact that actually I'm making a difference,

Kris:

even if no one ever says, thank you.

Kris:

I don't need thanks.

Kris:

I think that just to know that someone out there has potentially

Kris:

been saved as a result of the fact that we exist and we might never ever

Kris:

hear about it, that's enough for me.

Kris:

And, and, and I think, yeah, that, that for me is, is a

Kris:

core value that I not only.

Kris:

Practice on a daily basis, but I also instill into my children now as well.

Adam:

First off, I just wanted to say that I really appreciate the fact that

Adam:

you bring an outside perspective, not necessarily an outside perspective,

Adam:

but a different perspective than someone who's actually doing the grind.

Adam:

So can you talk a little bit about those things that you've

Adam:

seen both to cause you to.

Adam:

Create the be chef project.

Adam:

And some of the things that you see now that give you encouragement.

Adam:

Yeah.

Adam:

I

Kris:

mean, crikey, where to begin.

Kris:

where to begin.

Kris:

Let's get, let's get something straight.

Kris:

You know, the, the, the subject of mental health and high stress and wellbeing,

Kris:

it's a, it it's deemed as a negative conversation because it's pointing out all

Kris:

the things that are currently wrong, but.

Kris:

It shouldn't be, these are things that can be resolved and that need to be addressed.

Kris:

And for years we've just been turning a blind eye to them and accepting

Kris:

them terms like it is the way it is.

Kris:

This is just the industry.

Kris:

It'll never change.

Kris:

Customers need to pay more, that that will fix this.

Kris:

I need to be paid more.

Kris:

That will fix it.

Kris:

These are the sort of things that drive me.

Kris:

You know, there's a number of things in there that, that need addressing the.

Kris:

There's a big, I'm speaking to some quite high name chefs over in the

Kris:

UK who are contacting me going.

Kris:

I've made changes to my workplace practices.

Kris:

Right?

Kris:

That's fantastic.

Kris:

What is it?

Kris:

Well, I used to work my staff seven days a week, but now I've

Kris:

put them on four day working weeks.

Kris:

They do 55 hours in four days, rather than 65 hours in six, seven days.

Kris:

And they're not happy.

Kris:

So, okay, that's fine.

Kris:

So there's this big, these conversations keep coming up.

Kris:

There's this big conversation around worklife balance.

Kris:

So everyone automatically feels that they have to go and reduce the number

Kris:

of days that people working to give them more time off, but also work them harder

Kris:

during the days that they are working.

Kris:

That's a great solution for about a third of the workforce.

Kris:

You know, the third of the workforce that are perhaps okay with doing

Kris:

those long hours that have the drive and have the passion.

Kris:

But it's not okay for the younger generation who perhaps want to

Kris:

work and hone their skill set.

Kris:

That's not okay for the people who perhaps have family lives and aren't

Kris:

able to, you know, to work their school pickups and other things around that.

Kris:

And I think what we've, we've perhaps become a little bit the be chef

Kris:

project's done a great job of, of raising awareness through studies that

Kris:

this is a, a key topic of conversation.

Kris:

But I think that perhaps we have become a little bit too.

Kris:

Well, this is a quick fix.

Kris:

So this is what we need to do.

Kris:

And we've actually forgetting the bigger picture.

Kris:

So you can work 60 hours a week and be perfectly healthy and have a good sense

Kris:

of wellbeing and strong sense of purpose.

Kris:

If your leadership team.

Kris:

Is treating you as a unique individual and that you feel valued and that you

Kris:

feel safe and that you feel secure and that you have, you know, creativity

Kris:

being inspired within you on a daily basis, and that you feel that it's

Kris:

okay to fail and make mistakes.

Kris:

And you know that there's gonna be someone there to pick you up, dust

Kris:

you off, teach you the right skills to build your resilience and move forward.

Kris:

So.

Kris:

Just saying that by switching everyone onto four day working

Kris:

weeks is gonna solve the problem.

Kris:

It's not if inherently your culture is wrong and your management style is wrong.

Kris:

And that does bring me onto one of the key areas.

Kris:

And, you know, I'm a nonprofit rather than the charities.

Kris:

So what it means is that I can't take any profits as a, as a director.

Kris:

I can take a very small amount profits.

Kris:

Everything is asset locked.

Kris:

So I don't own it's asset locked by, you know, a charity partner.

Kris:

But what it does mean is that I can start to put in place solutions.

Kris:

So the merchandise raises awareness, it starts conversation.

Kris:

We're also building training modules to address the other big

Kris:

issue, which is skill gap shortage.

Kris:

Because one thing that I'd noticed, so I was 20 years of age working

Kris:

for a large insurance company, national insurance company in the.

Kris:

and I had been fully trained, six months worth of management training to manage

Kris:

a team of 10, where three of my oldest members of my team was 50, 60 years

Kris:

old waiting for retirement mm-hmm . And a load of my youngest members of my

Kris:

team were 17, 18 fresh outta school.

Kris:

Didn't really know, you know, ask from their elbow.

Kris:

But my job was to.

Kris:

Using the skill sets that I've been provided work with these

Kris:

individuals to make sure that they was maximizing their potential.

Kris:

Now, the key thing in that story is the fact that I was trained for six months.

Kris:

I was trained in coaching ad hoc coaching, regular performance reviews,

Kris:

the right sort of language to use, you know, the open questioning to be able

Kris:

to inspire people, to get to do things.

Kris:

So over here, I call it bums on goalpost.

Kris:

So obviously rugby posts over here are, uh, are giants right in the same similar

Kris:

way that, so your American football posts.

Kris:

Yeah.

Kris:

Now, if you get a load of guys sat on that post and you stand behind

Kris:

them, their answers that like W's.

Kris:

So one thing that I always sort of tell people and they want to inspire

Kris:

people is get them to have a say in the direction they're going in.

Kris:

How, what, who, why, when.

Kris:

Rather than are you gonna do this today or are you gonna do it tomorrow?

Kris:

All of a sudden you've just stripped control away from that individual.

Kris:

You've given them a yes, yes.

Kris:

Scenario.

Kris:

They don't have a control over it.

Kris:

They're gonna agree with something.

Kris:

Whereas if you say, how are we gonna achieve this goal?

Kris:

What sort of time scales do you reckon we're gonna do it in all of a sudden

Kris:

they're like, I've got a say in this, you know, exactly the same result, just

Kris:

done in a completely different way.

Kris:

So one thing that we have in hospitality is that we are all taught to be, you.

Kris:

Have a, have a service, you know, be efficient, do things faster,

Kris:

do things more skill, do them more professionally, but we are never, ever,

Kris:

ever taught or in very rare instances to lead to effectively communicate.

Kris:

And so what we have is low skills skill set with regards to management,

Kris:

man management, people communication.

Kris:

Added to that.

Kris:

You've got a high turnover of staff because ultimately your team don't

Kris:

potentially want don't wanna work in that environment for extended of time.

Kris:

Mm-hmm . Now you've got your head chefs left your sous chefs.

Kris:

Now your head chef, your CDP is now your sous chef.

Kris:

Your KP is now your CDP and at no stage, is that any of these, these

Kris:

guys or girls learn the skill sets.

Kris:

So it requires to be able to have an effective, effective

Kris:

team and be able to instigate.

Kris:

So that for me is one of the key things is that we as an industry and, and one

Kris:

thing that we are trying to take the lead on is actually we are saying, you know

Kris:

what, in order to get better wellbeing, we need to be able to support individuals

Kris:

with their own mental health issues because they are there four out of five

Kris:

people within hospitality have had a mental health issue during their career.

Kris:

But also at the same time, we need to be able to find free training.

Kris:

So those who want it so that we can make you more effective.

Kris:

We can ensure that you are looking after your team in a better way, and that your

Kris:

communication, you, you are listening that your body language, that you are, you

Kris:

know, even something like a performance review or a one to one, you know, if

Kris:

you say that word within a hospitality environment, the first thing that happens

Kris:

is someone goes, ah, I'm in trouble.

Kris:

What have I done wrong?

Kris:

Whereas in fact, actually, It shouldn't be deemed as that.

Kris:

And one to one is an opportunity where two people can sit down in an organization,

Kris:

you can sit down with your boss or your manager and you say, how am I doing?

Kris:

And they'll be like, yeah, well, how do you think you are doing?

Kris:

Like, what is it that you want to work on?

Kris:

Where can I help you further your career?

Kris:

You know, what is it that, that we can identify together and that we can work

Kris:

on together to be able to achieve your goals, but also help me achieve mine

Kris:

and fit into this organization and make everything a lot better for everyone.

Kris:

Like how much better does that sound?

Adam:

Sounds exciting.

Adam:

You know, in the last two years with everything that was going on.

Adam:

One of the things that I was most proudest of was creating a mentorship

Adam:

program for hourly associates who wanted to get into management, you know, and

Adam:

it was staggered and there were one on ones and they were reading assignments

Adam:

and all kinds of stuff like that.

Adam:

A lot of it was about the softer skills rather than hard skills.

Adam:

Although there was that too, and there were actually two people

Adam:

who went through it successfully, but this whole idea about.

Adam:

Now all of a sudden everybody's moving on and you have to fill

Adam:

those positions because the operation doesn't slow down yet.

Adam:

They're not given the skillset in order to do that, I think is a failing.

Adam:

And that's one of the reasons I'm fond of saying, I think

Adam:

leadership is a red herring.

Adam:

I think that word specifically to the culinary industry.

Adam:

Or the culinary craft is bullshit because really what people are looking

Adam:

for is they're looking for mentorship.

Adam:

They're looking for elbow to elbow, someone to support them, someone to,

Adam:

you know, allow them to make failures that don't hurt the guests or anybody

Adam:

else and create this environment where they can stretch themselves a little bit

Adam:

so that they can actually get to know.

Adam:

Their capacity.

Adam:

And like you say, resilience, which I think is so undervalued.

Adam:

And so I'm, I'm completely down, man.

Adam:

You know, this whole idea of mentorship doesn't take any, any longer time.

Adam:

You know, a lot of it happens elbow to elbow on the line as you're working right

Adam:

next to one, another having these small intimate conversations in the midst of

Adam:

your entire day, that makes such a big difference to somebody on their way.

Adam:

So, I guess it comes back to this idea of culture.

Adam:

What kind of culture do you actually want to create within your environment?

Adam:

What kind of community do you want to work in?

Adam:

And ultimately, what kind of legacy do you wanna live?

Adam:

Leave behind?

Adam:

Because really, I thought all my career that my success or failure

Adam:

as a chef would be how many other chefs came outta my kitchen, you

Adam:

know, that went on to succeed.

Adam:

Not only.

Adam:

With their food, but also creating environments where people could, again,

Adam:

kind of be crucibles of excellence, not through, you know, the fact that

Adam:

we got all stepped through the fire, which we do, but that they always felt

Adam:

that there was somebody that was gonna listen to them and give them advice.

Adam:

And, you know, I wasn't always this way but I like to think that

Adam:

I smartened up pretty quickly.

Adam:

So.

Adam:

This whole idea about act as opposed to talk, I think is really important.

Adam:

So can you talk about like the academy and some of the trainings

Adam:

that you guys are providing right now?

Kris:

Yeah, sure.

Kris:

So as I say, awareness is our first sort of pillar or my first pillar.

Kris:

And, and can I just say, like we never, ever, ever thought that two years ago

Kris:

I would be having conversations all around the world about mental health.

Kris:

I only ever wanted.

Kris:

To, or only I want to do this, but I only ever set out to raise a thousand

Kris:

pounds and raise a little bit of awareness in my hometown and help a few

Kris:

people with some mental health training.

Kris:

What I didn't yeah.

Kris:

Ever see was Pandora's box opening.

Kris:

All of this start to flood out and then COVID hitting and feeling

Kris:

like it was my moral obligation in duty to do something about it.

Kris:

Yep.

Kris:

So for me, the academy is a step on that direction so that we can start

Kris:

to help individuals with the problems they're experiencing, but that's all

Kris:

very well and good, but it's like putting a bandaid on a splinter.

Kris:

It's still gonna be in there and unless you pull it out and you start to dress.

Kris:

It's gonna just keep causing problems.

Kris:

So the academy is a free app.

Kris:

That's available on Google and Android.

Kris:

It's also available online as well, and you can register for

Kris:

it for free through our website.

Kris:

It provides free modules on any subject that.

Kris:

We as the be chef project.

Kris:

And, and again, the burn chef project gives you an impression

Kris:

that there's a massive organization.

Kris:

There's myself and my wife who helps part-time and, and

Kris:

a part-time marketing manager.

Kris:

So everything that you see and that, I think this is one of the key

Kris:

things that I really want people to understand is everything that you

Kris:

see about the burn chef project has predominantly been built by one person

Kris:

and supported by an entire industry.

Kris:

I've had volunteers, I've had people come and.

Kris:

But if ever you think that you are not capable of doing something you bloody

Kris:

are, your potential is limitless.

Kris:

And even if you don't know how to get to your goal, start focusing

Kris:

on that goal and start taking the steps in the right direction, because

Kris:

you are capable of so much more than you ever thought was possible.

Kris:

So the be chef modules are basically modules that I have put together.

Kris:

That I feel addressed our overall goal, which is making the industry healthier

Kris:

and more sustainable bear modules on personal resilience, stress management,

Kris:

managing mental health in the workplace, effective communication there's modules

Kris:

on there on mental health awareness or managers, mental health awareness,

Kris:

because it's important that we empower our management teams to understand

Kris:

what mental health issue looks like.

Kris:

Most importantly, give them the courage to be able to engage with

Kris:

that conversation rather than just fear it like I did for many years.

Kris:

And even the word suicide, you know, is a word that still sits

Kris:

deeply uncomfortable with me.

Kris:

But it's important that we start talking about it.

Kris:

We owe it to the people who are experiencing these, these, these

Kris:

experiences, these illnesses, to be able to say to them, we can talk to

Kris:

you about it and we can do so safely.

Kris:

You know, we can say to you, are you feeling suicidal?

Kris:

You know, mm-hmm, open up that conversation because

Kris:

that's all in many cases.

Kris:

You need to do in order to try and alleviate just even a minor bit, what

Kris:

people are are going through more modules are coming, you know, as soon as I

Kris:

be, I can get enough revenue coming in capital so that I can start to expand

Kris:

my team and free me up and also free up some capital so that we can pay

Kris:

more psychologists, more performance, psychologists, you know, more.

Kris:

Experts to help me build these modules.

Kris:

We will do.

Kris:

But if we have modules planned on rotor planning, you know, RO putting rotors

Kris:

in place three months in advance, like mind blown, can you imagine knowing

Kris:

in two weeks, three weeks, four weeks, five weeks time when your days off are,

Kris:

and knowing that they're unlikely to change, you know, modules on bullying.

Kris:

How to spot it, identify and deal with it.

Kris:

Sexual harassment, diversity training, you know, modules on performance reviews,

Kris:

you know, how to hold a good performance review to set tangible tasks so that

Kris:

individuals know exactly where they stand with the organization, but also

Kris:

gives them the ability to say where they want to go in an organization

Kris:

and what they want to focus on.

Kris:

You know?

Kris:

My brain is so full of things that I want to put onto this academy and

Kris:

provide to free for the industry that I am only limited by the two hands,

Kris:

two legs, two eyes, and two ears that I've got to be able to do it.

Kris:

And this is the, this is the frustrating thing about the be chef project now

Kris:

is that it, we have reached over 112 countries across the world, 112 countries.

Kris:

If there's anyone in Antarctica at the moment, please, can you

Kris:

like come and check us out?

Kris:

Because at the moment you're a big black hole.

Kris:

My map , but genuinely like there is so much good that we can provide,

Kris:

but in order for us to do that, people need to be able to support

Kris:

us so that we can support them.

Kris:

And we'll continue to develop like I'm, as I say, I'm working on a network of

Kris:

life coaches, an international network of life coaches, so that individuals.

Kris:

Individuals like yourself, you know, can mentor across the entire

Kris:

hospitality industry and help people find their why find their core values

Kris:

and find what it is they want to achieve in life and still have a happy,

Kris:

healthy career within hospitality.

Kris:

You know, it might be that they set up their own company.

Kris:

It might be that they become a producer and start sourcing

Kris:

the finest strawberries.

Kris:

Whatever it might be.

Kris:

I think that sometimes we just need to be able to talk to someone about it.

Kris:

And so that's one of my long term goals to increase their support service, the

Kris:

immediate tech space support service that we offer to every country around the

Kris:

world, do it in multinational languages.

Kris:

Again, I can see pound and dollar signs in my head in terms of how much that

Kris:

time and money that will cost, but it doesn't exist because people have

Kris:

deemed it too difficult or too hard.

Kris:

But.

Kris:

By job, I'm gonna fucking do it.

Kris:

I want to do it to be able to help the industry and it's achievable

Kris:

just because it hasn't been done yet.

Kris:

Doesn't mean it's not possible.

Kris:

So there's, there's a lot more to come.

Adam:

I couldn't, I couldn't agree with you more, man.

Kris:

If, if you're interested in any, in, like for me, I studied

Kris:

a little bit of psychology before I dropped out of college.

Kris:

And one of the studies that always sits with the, was the Stanford experi.

Kris:

Do go and check it out.

Kris:

It doesn't absolve people of things that they've done in

Kris:

their past, in the same way.

Kris:

A criminal has stolen.

Kris:

A thousand dollars from a shop has still stolen that a thousand dollars.

Kris:

But if he's been in prison and he's come out and he's, you know, he's

Kris:

making a difference to people's lives, then you can't hold that over him.

Kris:

But the Stanford experiment's really interesting because what it does is it

Kris:

takes two, two groups of students that are, you know, they know each other

Kris:

they're on good terms, puts 'em in a prison, split some down the middle one

Kris:

group of wardens, one group of prisoners.

Kris:

They had to call the experiment off within six days because the things

Kris:

that the wardens were doing to the prisoners were so heinous and

Kris:

violating mm-hmm that it was seriously long-term damaging the, the prisoners.

Kris:

And the interesting thing to take away from that is that we

Kris:

are products, we're animals.

Kris:

We are products of our environment.

Kris:

So yes, you might have learned.

Kris:

That in the past, it was okay to, you know, Brate, berate someone

Kris:

and to drive them down and to make them feel small and significant.

Kris:

You think, you know, that's something that you've learned as a learned behavior.

Kris:

It doesn't mean that that's okay.

Kris:

And the question is, what are you gonna do about that now to make up for it?

Adam:

I think that's a perfect place to leave it, Chris.

Adam:

Thanks so much for your time.

Adam:

As I said, consider me an ally for sure.

Adam:

Thank.

Adam:

That's it for this episode of chef life radio.

Adam:

If you enjoyed it, it made you think laugh or get pissed off.

Adam:

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Adam:

We believe that working in a kitchen should be demanding.

Adam:

It just shouldn't have to be demeaning.

Adam:

It should be hard.

Adam:

It just doesn't have to be harsh.

Adam:

We believe that it's possible to have more solidarity and less suck it up.

Adam:

Sunshine, more compassion, less cutthroat island.

Adam:

We believe in more partnership and less put up more, shut up

Adam:

more community and a lot less.

Adam:

Fuck you finally.

Adam:

Consider for a second where all the blood, sweat, and sometimes

Adam:

even tears, we put into what we do really at the end of the day, that's

Adam:

just some brown stuff on a plate.

Adam:

None of it really matters.

Adam:

It doesn't define you as a person or make you any more

Adam:

special or less than anyone else.

Adam:

It's just a dance we're engaged in.

Adam:

So we might as well laugh and enjoy every bit of it.

Adam:

Even the crappy parts while we're doing it, or didn't, you know, that the purpose

Adam:

of your life should be to enjoy it.

Adam:

Like it happy.

Kris:

I love you.

Kris:

Love it.

Kris:

I'm humble.

Kris:

You God damn glory Foxwell.

Adam:

I don't live on now.

Adam:

follow us@facebook.com.

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Adam:

Oh yes.

Adam:

Chef stand tall and frosty brothers and sisters until next time be well.

Adam:

And do good.

Adam:

Leave the light on honey.

Adam:

I'm coming home late.

Adam:

This show was produced, recorded and edited by me, Adam Lamb at the dish

Adam:

pit studios in Baro North Carolina.

Adam:

This has been a production of realignment video.