Paul Kitching: 'I worry about some of the chefs out there stuck in isolation'

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 10th April 2020

As we've all discovered in the past two and a half weeks, life in isolation isn't always easy. 

But Paul Kitching, chef and owner of 21212 Restaurant in Edinburgh is making the best of a bad situation. 

"There's me and Katie in this huge house, I see Kate for a few hours a day, we pass each other and go 'hey how're you doing,' I cook her a bacon sandwich in the morning. We have a great time."

"The beauty of being a head chef is that isolation is part of the repertoire. You have a great time with the guys, mess around, but there's always a distance because you spend more time on your own.

"I certainly wouldn't go out and drink with those bunch of reprobates," he laughed. 

In close contact with his team, the chef explained that for them, it's not so easy being apart. 

"You can sense the anxiety from them. It's past boredom now - one of them chappies, he's almost become a bit frantic because they're all out of their comfort zone. They can't all get together and drink coffee and chat - they're all finding it difficult." 

"I speak to them quite a bit. There are some I worry about, and some I know are going to be okay." 

A thought that haunts him, he said, is that some people are living in total isolation. 

"There must be people stuck in a situation, almost like a prison cell. You think, 'fucking hell.' If you've not got much money and you don't speak a lot of a language, you're a chef and you're Chinese or Italian, you're new on board, new in the city, you can't get home. You're a young kid, your mind's not as strong as an older person may be in that respect, that's going to build anxiety." 

For his part, the chef is focused on resisting the temptation to drink - a concern he is certain many others share. 

"That's my little anxiety at the moment, fighting not drinking alcohol." 

To help see him through, he's stocked up on alcohol free beers, DVD boxsets and books. 

"At least I'm keeping Amazon going, that's for sure," he laughed. 

Another means of staying busy and helping their suppliers stay afloat, the couple have started making food deliveries to neighbouring people in self-isolation - a service which they could see continuing after the lockdown.

The chef is optimistic about the future, despite the fact that, as he sees it, the UK made blunders as it entered the current crisis. 

"We have a track record of making a mess of things, turning it around and doing quite well. We'll be alright."

In these challenging times…

…the hospitality landscape has dramatically changed in the last two months, and with that our advertising revenues have all but expired, significantly impacting our business. Despite having to furlough a large portion of our staff, we are still delivering the valuable content and honest information, which hundreds of thousands of you come to The Staff Canteen for. We believe we have a critical role to play in informing and supporting our audience. We need your support right now, more than ever, to keep The Staff Canteen active. Without your financial contributions this would not be possible.

Over the last 12 years, The Staff Canteen has built what has become the go-to platform for chefs and hospitality professionals. As members and visitors, your daily support has made The Staff Canteen what it is today. Our features and videos from the world’s biggest name chefs, are something we are proud of. We have over 500,000 followers across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and other social channels, each connecting with chefs across the world. Our editorial and social media team are creating and delivering engaging content every day, to support you and the whole sector.

Your financial support means we remain independent and open to all. We were launched by a chef and remain the voice of chefs and other hospitality professionals.

We need your support to keep delivering the products and content that you love, giving you the platform to share opinions and inspiration. Every contribution whether big or small, means so much.
Support The Staff Canteen from as little as £1 today. Thank you

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 10th April 2020

Paul Kitching: 'I worry about some of the chefs out there stuck in isolation'