mental health in the hospitality industry

Disclaimer - Trigger Warnings

It is important that we speak about mental health issues in the hospitality industry.  Many of the articles below involve content of suicide, depression, anxiety, and drinking, among others.  Although we feel some of the content may be too strong for some readers, we feel it is equally important that we do not hide it.  

The people below are brave enough to come forward to talk about issues which effect them on a deep level.  

If you work in the hospitality industry and are experiencing mental health issues, understand you are not alone.  This is a worldwide issue and mental illness does not discriminate.

Mental Health in the Hospitality Industry

Chefs Speak Out


One of the most powerful videos of various chefs and GM's speaking about mental health in the industry.  Video - click here.

Chef Chris Consentino


San Francisco Chef Chris Consentino shares his personal story of mental health in the kitchen.  Video - click here.

Chef Andrew Clarke


London Chef Andrew Clarke shares his personal story of mental health in the kitchen.  Video - click here.

Charles Ford


GM of S.K.Y. Restaurant in Chicago, Charles Ford speaks with CBS News about small changes restaurants can begin to make.  Video - click here.

Kat Kinsman


Founder of the website "Chefs with Issues", Kat Kinsman sheds light on mental health in kitchens.  Video - click here.

Chef Zia Sheikh


Founder of Restaurant After Hours, NYC Chef Zia Sheikh speaks openly to StarChefs about his struggles with alcohol and speaks about changes restaurants can begin to make.  Article - click here.

Mental Health in the Hospitality Industry

Chef Sean Brock


Chef Sean Brock talks to the NY Times about giving up alcohol, checking into rehab, and what it means for the future of his restaurants.  Article - click here.

Chef Tiago Teixeira


An Australian chef speaks very openly about chefs in the industry, their lifestyles, and why so many chefs kill themselves.  Video - click here. 

Chef David McMillan


Montreal Chef David McMillan talks to Bon Appetit magazine about giving up alcohol and what that has meant for his restaurant, Joe Beef.  Article - click here.

Chef Michael Solomonov


Philadelphia Chef Michael Solomonov shares a dark secret of heroine use and checking into rehab during the opening months of his flagship restaurant, Zahav.  Article - click here.

Boiling Point: Irish Kitchens


Marie Claire Digby of The Irish Times writes about Ruth Hegarty, Founder of Chef Network in Ireland, and chefs she had sat down with to speak about mental health.  Article - click here.

Mickey Bakst & Steven Palmer


Ben's Friends, a support group for the hospitality industry, was founded after the suicide of one of Palmer's chefs, Ben Murray.  Article - click here.

Mental Health in the Hospitality Industry

Chef Rene Redzepi


Denmark Chef Rene Redzepi talks about tomorrow's kitchens, and concentrating on people.  Video - click here.  

Chef Daniel Patterson


California Chef Daniel Patterson opens up about his battle with depression and mental health in kitchens.  Article - click here.

Chef Anton Leyland


New Zealand Chef Anton Leyland opens up about mental health in kitchens after losing a staff member to suicide.  Article and Video - click here.

Chefs Talk Depression


Various chefs including David Chang, Wolfgang Puck, Michael Symon, Richard Blais, and others, open up about their depression.  Article - click here.

D.C. Restaurant Staff


A long and very detailed article about restaurant life and the employees who live it, as told by D.C. restaurant employees.  Article - click here.

Chef Marcus Glocker


NYC Chef Marcus Glocker speaks to Forbes magazine about "the long-term picture".  Article - click here.

Mental Health in the Hospitality Industry

Chef Ashish Alfred


Maryland Chef Ashish Alfred talks to the Washington Post about an alcoholic father, childhood trauma, and drug use.  Article - click here.

Chef Austin Hu


Shanghai Chef Austin Hu talks mental health in the kitchen in the wake of Anthony Bourdain's suicide.  Article - click here.

Chef Selin Kiazim


London Chef Selin Kiazim speaks to Munchies about lack of control over her own emotions and mental health in kitchens.  Article - click here.

Chef Scott Crawford


Sober for over 14 years, Raleigh Chef Scott Crawford knows firsthand of working in a restaurant while recovering from an addiction.  Article - click here.

Chef Patrick Mulvaney


Sacramento Chef Patrick Mulvaney speaks to NPR about channeling his energy into suicide prevention after the death of a long-time friend.  Article - click here.

Chef Rachel Miller


Boston Chef Rachel Miller speaks to Chefsfeed about underlying depression and being in-and-out of therapy.  Article - click here.

Mental Health in the Hospitality Industry

Chef Brandon Baltzley


Chef Brandon Baltzley speaks to CNN about abusing substances, mental health, and the link between the two.  Article - click here.

Chef Luigi Lo Praeste


Chef Luigi Lo Praeste writes about his long battles with depression and anxiety in the wake of Anthony Bourdain's death.  Article - click here.

Chef Einav Gefen


Founder of the FairKitchens initiative, Chef Einav Gefen strives to foster a positive, sustainable workplace for kitchen workers.  Article - click here.

Boston Chefs


The Boston Globe sheds light on mental health in kitchens after speaking with Gary Strack, Mark O'Leary, Chris Lin, Jacqueline Dole, Kirsten Amann, and others.  Article - click here.

Adam Richman


The original host of Travel Channel's "Man vs Food", Adam Richman dropped 70 pounds after the show aired due to health concerns, body image, and depression.  Here he talks to Men's Health about how he dropped the weight.  Article - click here.

StarChefs ICC


Chefs gather at the StarChefs 2018 International Chefs Congress to look beyond "deliciousness".  The 2018 theme was "Cooking with Respect:  Better People, Better Food".  Article - click here.

Mental Health in the Hospitality Industry

Chef Matt Jennings


Northeast Chef Matt Jennings speaks about his food addiction, losing 200 pounds, and how he is now devoting his career to bringing wellness to the industry.  Article - click here.

Chef Jessica Largey


LA Chef Jessica Largey talks about her journey from confident cook to being an insecure Chef de Cuisine, battling anxiety and self-doubt.  Article - click here.

Chef Angela Garbacz


Owner of Goldenrod Pastries, Nebraska Pastry Chef Angela Garbacz talks about her "Empower Through Flour" initiative, and balancing personal life, work life, and creative time.  Article - click here.

Chef Seamus Mullen


Diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, NYC Chef Seamus Mullen speaks about taking your health into your own hands.  Article - click here.

Chef Caroline Schiff


Owner of Paradigmschiff and Culinary Commons, Brooklyn Pastry Chef Caroline Schiff is bringing awareness to wellness, mental health, and stress management in the industry.  Website - click here.

Chefs and Self-Care


Kat Kinsman interviews eleven chefs including Rick Bayless, Matt Jennings, and Amanda Cohen about their self-care strategies, for Food & Wine magazine.  Article - click here.

Mental Health in the Hospitality Industry

Chef Eric Ripert


NYC Chef Eric Ripert talks with The Guardian regarding Buddhism and a principle that causes a daily conflict for him.  Article - click here.

Chef Floyd Cardoz


A board member of The AFSP, NJ Chapter, NYC Chef Floyd Cardoz speaks with IndiaWest about a special dinner raising awareness for suicide prevention. Article - click here.

Chef David Chang


After the death of Anthony Bourdain, NYC Chef David Chang opens up about his battle with depression, issues of self-confidence, paranoia, and imposter syndrome.  Article - click here.

Chef Rick Tramonto


Chef Rick Tramonto touches on his background, his mother who had schizophrenia, and why he loves to participate in One Mind's Music Festival for Mental Health.  Video - click here.

Saada Ahmed


Co-founder of Everyday People with Chef Roble and DJ Moma, Saada speaks to dispel mental health stigma within society.  Video - click here.

Chef Charlie Trotter


Once labeled "The Best Chef in America", Chicago Chef Charlie Trotter died in 2013 at the age of 54 by result of a stroke, one year after closing Charlie Trotter's in 2012.  Article - click here.

Mental Health in the Hospitality Industry

Chef Joseph Cerniglia


In 2010, New Jersey Chef Joseph Cerniglia committed suicide by jumping off the George Washington Bridge.  His family tells the story of the amount of stress he was under.  Article - click here.

Chef Jessica Vogel


Although being treated for a chronic bowel disease at the time of her death at 34, New Jersey Chef Jessica Vogel was open about her issues with drinking.  Article - click here.

Chef Paulie Giganti


Philadelphia Chef Paulie Giganti was found dead in his home at 36.  The cause of death was an accidental drug overdose.  Article - click here.

Chef Rachel Brown


Is there a link between reality TV and suicide?  In 2007 Chef Rachel Brown committed suicide after being eliminated from "Hell's Kitchen" in 2006.  Article - click here.

Josh Marks


MasterChef runner-up Josh Marks committed suicide at the age of 26.  His family speaks of his battles with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.  Article - click here.

Chef Carl Abrams


UK Chef Carl Abrams worked his way up to sous chef at Brazz restaurant before committing suicide at the young age of 24.  Article - click here. 

Mental Health in the Hospitality Industry

Chef James Hemings


A mixed-race slave freed by Thomas Jefferson, Chef James Hemings was said to suffer from alcoholism, and committed suicide at the age of 36.  Wikipedia - click here.

Chef David Halls


"Hudson and Halls" ran on New Zealand television from 1976 to 1986.  After Chef Peter Hudson died of cancer in 1992, a grief-stricken Chef David Halls killed himself the following year.  Wikipedia - click here.

Chef Francois Vatel


Incorrectly credited with creating chantilly cream, Chef Francois Vatel was so distraught about a late seafood delivery he committed suicide during an extravagant banquet for 2000 people.  Wikipedia - click here.

Talk'n Chef Live


Aussie Chef Adam Moore speaks to panelists Sam Peart, Bryce Gabbell, and Matt Hart about depression and mental health in the industry.  Video - click here.

Clemens Wilmenrod


Clemens Wilmenrod was the first German television cook.  He committed suicide at the age of 60 after being diagnosed with stomach cancer.  Wikipedia - click here.

Chef Elise Kornack


NYC Chef Elise Kornack opens up about her obsession with recognition and reviews, and how it caused her to have a full nervous breakdown.  Article - click here.

Mental Health in the Hospitality Industry

Chef Benoit Violier


One month after his restaurant was named "The World's Greatest", French-Swiss Chef Benoit Violier committed suicide at the age of 44.  "I go to sleep cooking.  I wake up cooking."  Article - click here.

Chef Bernard Loiseau


French Chef Bernard Loiseau committed suicide in 2003 at the age of 52 after there were rumors his restaurant might lose its 3-Michelin star status.  It proved not to be true. His death propelled the world to look at the high-stress world of fine dining.  Article - click here.

Lowell Hawthorne


Founder and CEO of Golden Krust, Lowell Hawthorne committed suicide in his Bronx factory at the age of 57 amid fears the feds were investigating him for evading millions of tax dollars.  Article - click here.

Colin Devlin


NYC Restaurateur Colin Devlin committed suicide in 2013 at the age of 42.  It was one month after he closed the doors to his Michelin-starred restaurant.  The NY Times tries to peel away the layers for the cause of suicide.  Article - click here.

Chef Geoff Lukas


 Boston Chef de Cuisine Geoff Lukas, a lover of Middle Eastern cuisine, died unexpectedly in October of 2015 at the age of 32.  Article - click here. 

Chef Homaro Cantu


With no history of mental illness, and no suicide note, Chicago's forward-thinking Chef Homaro Cantu committed suicide in 2015 at the age of 38.  His friends said he "may have taken on too much".  He was also going through a public lawsuit at the time.  Article - click here.

Mental Health in the Hospitality Industry

Chefs in Recovery


 Andrew Zimmern, Michael Solomonov, Sean Brock, Gabriel Rucker, and Gregory Gourdet speak to Men's Health magazine about taking it one day at a time.  Article - click here

Chef Darren Simpson


 Named UK's "Young Chef of the Year" when he was just 21, Chef Darren Simpson attempted to enter a rehab clinic for alcohol addiction before ending up in a hospital.  He died from a heart attack at the age of 40 in 2017.  Article - click here. 

Long Island Chefs


Chefs Stephan Bogardus, Jeremy Blutstein, and Aura Winarick open up about their sobriety and how it has impacted their quality of life.  Hannah Selinger writes for Edible Long Island.  Article - click here.

Chefs and Eating Disorders


There's a common misconception that cooks, servers, and foodservice professionals eat very well.  But, that could not be further from the truth.  Although always around food, more and more hospitality employees are suffering from eating disorders.  Article - click here.

Chef Marco-Pierre White


British Chef Marco-Pierre White was the youngest chef to ever receive three Michelin stars at the age of 24.  The death of his mother when he was six years old was a defining moment in his life.  Here, he speaks with Grief Encounters about being driven by insecurity, a fear of failure, and a fear of dying.  Audio - click here.

Chef Anthony Bourdain


Chef Anthony Bourdain's suicide in 2018 at the age of 61 not only shook the chef community, but the world.  Many believe his book "Kitchen Confidential" and various television series had helped shape the industry into what it is today.  Here, Kat Kinsman remembers the late chef for Food & Wine magazine.  Article - click here.

mental health in the hospitality industry

Chef Gordon Ramsay


Juggling a restaurant empire, television shows, and a family is not easy.  Gordon Ramsay speaks about "burnout" and finding balance to Esquire Middle East.  Article - click here.

Chef Elizabeth Falkner


Award-winning Chef and Author, Elizabeth Falkner sits down with Kat Kinsman to speak about toxic restaurant cultures.  Focusing on the chefs and restaurants who are running safe and professional kitchens is important.  Article - click here.

Chef Kwame Onwuachi


Author of "Notes from a young black chef", Chef Kwame Onwuachi speaks to Eater about "paying dues" and how he feels it's "kind of bullshit".  Article - click here.

Chef Magnus Nilsson


Swedish Chef Magnus Nilsson opens up about work/life balance and the changes he made for himself and his staff at his two-star Michelin restaurant Faviken.  Article - click here.

Chef JP McMahon


Founder of Food on the Edge (FOTE), Irish Chef and Restaurateur JP McMahon speaks about how chefs and industry professionals talk about important topics such as mental health and food waste, but not much is being done to change it.  Article - click here.

Chef Sat Bains


Nottingham-based Chef Sat Bains encourages chefs and other industry professionals to get behind "World Mental Health Day" and how we need to start paying more attention to mental health in kitchens.  Article - click here.

mental health in the hospitality industry



Drinks charity The Benevolent launched a campaign called #NotAlone to encourage people of the drink trade to speak freely and openly about mental health.  The goal is to create a stigma-free environment for workers and their families.  Article - click here.

Chef Matt Campbell


Young British Chef Matt Campbell was at the start of a blossoming career, having worked eight years cooking across Europe, and appearing on BBC's MasterChef: The Professionals.  In 2018 he collapsed and died while running the London Marathon.  Although the exact cause of death is unknown, friends and family attribute his death to hot weather and dehydration during the run.  Article - click here.

Chef Kevin Boyle


Once an apprentice for Jamie Oliver, British Chef Kevin Boyle went on to work for a variety of restaurants across the UK.  Known to have a history of depression, he committed suicide in 2012 at the age of 26 with a suicide kit he had ordered off the internet.  Article - click here.

Chef Christopher Pethick


Having battled depression, Christopher Pethick's family was happy to hear he was accepted into Jamie Oliver's apprenticeship program at restaurant Fifteen.  However, he committed suicide at the young age of 20 in 2008 just 10 miles from the restaurant.  Article - click here.

Chef Anthony Sedlak


Vancouver Chef Anthony Sedlak began his career in his teens, appearing on Food Network shows, writing cookbooks, and winning a silver medal at the World Junior Chef Challenge.  In 2012 at the age of 29, he committed suicide by intentional overdose of cocaine and oxycodone.  Article - click here.

Chef Nathan Laity


23-year-old UK Chef Nathan Laity died in his sleep on Mother's Day after contracting blood poisoning from an untreated case of tonsillitis.  His family attributes his death to long working hours as a chef, leaving his body exhausted and not being able to combat an illness most people would see as an inconvenience.  Article - click here.

mental health in the hospitality industry

Chef Matt Crandon


Sydney-based Chef Matt Crandon committed suicide in early 2019.  Here, former co-worker and friend Colin Fassnidge pays tribute and talks about mental health issues in the hospitality industry.  Article - click here.

Chef Justin Bull


46-year-old Sydney Chef Justin Bull committed suicide in 2019.  He was known as a "Chef-to-the-Stars" working as a personal chef for high-profile actors such as Russell Crowe.  Friends say he had just recently opened up about his battles with depression and was seeking treatment at the time of his death.  Article - click here.

Chef Jeremy Strode


Although an ambassador for "R U OK?" suicide charity, Australian Chef Jeremy Strode committed suicide at the age of 53 in 2017.  He said the charity was brought to his attention after one of his own staff members committed suicide in 2015.  Article - click here.

Chef Illiana Regan


Going on nine years of sobriety, Chicago Chef Illiana Regan speaks to Vice about her early years of alcohol abuse and attending AA meetings.  Article - click here.

Chef Ben Shewry


Australian Chef Ben Shewry looks to tackle long hours of his staff by giving them three days off a week.   He feels he is getting more out of his staff by having them work four 12-hour days instead of working 6-7 days a week.  Article - click here.

Chef Chris Hill


Chef, Author, and TedX Speaker, Atlanta Chef Chris Hill writes a letter to inspiring cooks and chefs and explains how working in kitchens is not easy, you get out of it what you put in, and how it is all worth it in the end.  Article - click here.

mental health in the hospitality industry

Chef Ryan Daniels


Executive Chef of Fiddlesticks CC, Florida Chef Ryan Daniels hopes to inspire club and resort chefs to take a much needed moment to evaluate and improve their mental health.  Article - click here.

Chef Matt Hinckley


Deciding to quit drinking in 2016, Miami Chef Matt Hinckley speaks to Food & Wine about how he resorted to alcohol to deal with stress.  Now he chooses not to drink and replaced his alcohol addiction with exercise.  Article - click here.

Chef Steve West


London Chef Steve West talks to Morning Advertiser about his struggles being a chef in the industry.  A combination of working long hours and having suicidal thoughts started to take a major toll on him.  He is now calling for more awareness to be brought to the subject.  Article - click here.

Chef Amber Kaba


After the death of a mentor and friend, Australian Chef Amber Kaba started a movement called "The White Jacket Effect".  She hopes it will raise awareness and bring mental health to the forefront of the hospitality industry.  

Article - click here.

Mental Health in the Hospitality Industry

Additional Articles:

"The dark side of food & beverage: battling mental & behavioral problems." - Tucson Foodie

"Our whites are not suits of armor."  A chef opens up about the industry. - FineDiningLovers

"A new kitchen culture: mental health & sobriety in the restaurant industry." - OpenTable 

"Shift work, low pay, high pressure: kitchen culture to blame for mental illness, addiction." - Edmonton Journal

"Is being a chef bad for your mental health?" - The Guardian

"New study reveals just how unhealthy it is to be a chef." - Munchies

"It's time to speak out on the kitchen's toll." - James Beard Foundation

"Why the service industry is hard on your mental health." - Baltimore Magazine

"Working in hell's kitchen | rising suicide rates in restaurant workers." - TenEleven Group

"Hell's kitchen: brutal shifts, intense pressure and isolation driving Aussie chefs to suicide." - Australia

"Mental health is real: two high profile suicides within days of each other, rock food and fashion industry." - Ark Republic

"We need to talk about mental health in the kitchen." - Munchies

"Not 9 to 5: mental health initiative targets 'toxic' pressures for restaurant workers." - The Guardian

"Chefs with issues: where restaurant workers discuss mental health concerns." - The Splendid Table

"Resources for maintaining your mental health in the hospitality industry." - Culinary Agents

"Anthony Bourdain death: a fellow chef on the hidden pain of those who feed us." - Psycom

"Chefs set aside 'an hour for us' to talk about better kitchen culture." - Food & Wine 

"We need to talk more about mental health at work." - Harvard Business Review

"Saying young cooks need to 'pay dues' before finding success is kind of bullshit." - Eater

"10 small ways your kitchen team can get healthier together." - We Are Chefs

"Substance abuse in the restaurant and bar industry." - The Arbor Behavioral Institute

"Substance abuse in the restaurant industry." - New Beginnings Drug & Alcohol Rehabilitation

"Nonprofit offers mental health resources to service industry workers." - Fox 9 News

"In the restaurant industry, improving mental health feels more important than ever." - Eater