Kirk Haworth on why chefs should meditate and talk about their struggles

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 29th November 2019

If you told the likes of Marco Pierre White twenty years ago that chefs would care about nurturing their physical and mental wellbeing, he may have laughed in your face. 

But times are changing and more chefs are aware of the risks of treating their health like an afterthought. One such chef is Kirk Haworth, the chef owner of Plates and the founder of Chef's Wellness. 

Kirk suffers from Lyme disease, an illness often overlooked by medical professionals because it is so hard to detect. He contracted it when bitten by a tick in Australia, and, receiving little help from his doctor, took matters into his own hands. He learnt about nutrition, switched to a plant-based diet, practiced meditation and yoga assiduously until he saw an improvement in his health. 

Helping chefs help themselves 

Kirk, Robin Gill and wellbeing therapist Monica 
at the Chef's Wellness inaugural event last month

Now, the chef wants to put his newly-acquired skills to good use. Last month, he held the first Chef's Wellness event with The Dairy and Darby's chef owner Robin Gill, and twelve attendees from the hospitality industry. 

The concept is simple, he explained: "Each month I get a chef to come and cook, a chef that can inspire people, help people have a voice and is a great character, and then I have a therapist and an inspirational talker. We basically do a 40 minutes Q&A, so we all get together in a circle and we all talk about stuff."

Participants can ask for advice on anything, from stress relief to nutrition, or just take part in a mindfulness session, eat some food and meet some new people. 

"It's not preachy, it's a very fun environment where we can talk about if we feel a bit s**t or if we're really down or we've got a lot of anxiety about something. We can talk about it and all help each other in the same way that lads talk about football or going to the gym, because the brain is another muscle and it needs exercise.

"It's about changing that stigma - we should be able to say 'okay I'm going to therapy this week, just as we say we're going to the gym. It shouldn't be any different.

"It's eradicating that 'if we're honest, people are going to think we're being negative, if we say it's rubbish, people are going to think we're negative - trying to cut that line and say it's okay to feel bad, and there are twelve people in this room that might've also gone through the same stuff that could actually really help you.

"It's about bringing people together, connecting people and making friends." 

Though not strictly for chefs, as Kirk wants Chef's Wellness to extend to the entire hospitality industry, he hopes the workshops will give chefs - who have a tendency to power through times of hardship  - an outlet.

 

 

When is the next Chef's Wellness event and how can you sign up? 

The next Chef's Wellness event will take place at Kirk's restaurant and food studio, Plates, on December 16th, with special guest chef and founder of Pilot Light, Andrew Clarke, as well as actor and Men's Health Magazine contributor Tom hoppers.

Get in touch with Kirk at [email protected] for more information or if you'd like to sign up. Follow Plates and Chef's Wellness on Instagram and Twitter to stay in the loop about upcoming events.

 

 

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 29th November 2019

Kirk Haworth on why chefs should meditate and talk about their struggles