'There's lots of amazing chefs that are so so wonderful to their staff and that shouldn't be the anomaly that should be the norm'

The  Staff Canteen

Sally abé and Ravneet Gill on the changing culture in hospitality and their opinions on calling out bad behaviour in the industry

In this week's episode of Gilled by The Staff Canteen co-host Sally Abé, chef at The Pem, and her guest Ravneet Gill, pastry chef, author and food writer, discussed a number of topics from carrying a pig and Parkour, to trade marking and the court of public opinion.

Trial by Social Media

Ravneet is also the founder of Counter Talk, a community set up to help find, share and support great businesses. She's champions those within hospitality 'doing it well' rather than highlighting bad behaviour. The media, often has other ideas and in turn this is reflected across social media. Ravneet explained how she has mixed feelings about chefs being 'called out' over the past 12 months.

"On the one hand, I think it's really important to call people out on things that they have been doing that you know that there is evidence for and there are definitely some individuals out there who everybody knows are notorious for awful behaviour, she explained.

"But then, on the other hand, I don't believe in trial by social media. I think it can get really nasty and I think that often it can mean that false facts get thrown out there and I really don't believe in that."

Ravneet instead is more of a person of action saying: "Something that I've really been a big believer in is if I know that someone has done something bad or an employer treats their staff poorly all I'll do is I won't go there, I won't support them and I won't take my friends to their restaurants.

"When you start getting into the realm of calling people out on social media you can then fall into being libelled or spreading misinformation. So, I prefer to keep those things to myself, unless there is a proven fact that I can use to back up. I think it's very very difficult."

She added: "The media has a massive part to play in this. Because, yes there are some really awful people out there, but not as many as there used to be - in my opinion - and there are amazing people."

Sally agreed with Ravneet's points, especially when it came to the media, she said: "They were the ones in the 90s that were like 'hahaha, look at all these chefs screaming and shouting and calling people horrible names and making them do horrible things. Let's make it into national media and give them all TV shows, etc.'

"So, it was something of a spectacle to watch in the 90s and 2000s and then all of a sudden, when the woke generation got involved and were like 'no, no we don't want to be treated like this anymore.' Now, all of a sudden, they're like 'oh no heaven forbid we show that.' Well, you perpetuated it in the first place.

"I think the media have a long way to go to help hospitality revisit that image and, like Rav says, showcasing people that are trying to make a difference and make a change.

"There's lots and lots of amazing chefs that are so so wonderful to their staff and that shouldn't be the anomaly that should be the norm. Those kitchens need to be breeding grounds for obviously the next generation of chefs."

This change is not an easy nor fast one, there is no quick fix and as discussed in many articles this year on The Staff Canteen, 'change takes time and education and there needs to be a want to change'.

Sally explained: "As I've said till I'm blue in the face 'societal change takes a long time, you can't change society, you can't change an industry, you can't change a way of life overnight it will take 10, 20, 30, 40 maybe even 50, 60, 70 years who knows.

"It's definitely going in the right direction but like Rav says, I think we need to stop eating at people's restaurants where the staff are treated badly and I also think that people need to stop going to work at those restaurants. I think there are so many amazing restaurants out there."

Sally says the next generation of chefs is key, adding: "I think if we can shift the next generation - the young people - towards restaurants and businesses that treat them properly then eventually the crappy ones will die out I hope. I think they will [as] it has to change."

To start the podcast and introduce Ravneet as the guest, Cara Houchen, editor of The Staff Canteen lead Ravneet through a series of questions all of which were the most searched questions about Ravneet on google. So for anyone who is looking, answers are below!

How old is Raveneet Gill?

I'm 31. I think people always think I'm like 22, so, then I always get people being like 'your experience is not real because you're only 22' and I'm like 'no honey, I'm 31 okay. I have done these things.' But, I always get the opposite, people always think I'm really young and that I've just lied about everything. 

Ravneet Gill Partner?

Well, it's complicated. I don't reveal my personal life much at all and even with my family, they'll only know about a partner when I get married that's how it is. But I'm not married.

What Nationality is Ravneet Gill?

Well, I'm British, but my parents are Indian so I always say I'm British Indian my mum was born in Kenya so she's Kenyan Indian and my dad was born in India and they both met in the UK.

Ravneet Gill New house?

During lockdown, I was looking for somewhere to buy and for my money I could only get these tiny maisonette flats in a specific area in east London and I honestly just stepped like 10 minutes out of that area and I walked into this incredible place that had a massive domed ceiling. It's like a converted town hall.

I walked in and when I walked in I was like 'right, this is the same amount of money and this is ten times bigger and much nicer,' and so, I bought a place that has a pretty iconic feeling and I think people are nosey and want to know where it is.

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 7th July 2022

'There's lots of amazing chefs that are so so wonderful to their staff and that shouldn't be the anomaly that should be the norm'