“A generation of chefs that are trying to change that old school mentality”

Alex South

Alex South


Honouring World Mental Health Day 2022 Alex Bond and Tom Spenceley discuss changes within the industry and efforts being introduced to remove the stigma around mental health.

Huge changes have been introduced across workplaces to help improve the mental health of staff working within the hospitality industry.

Projects like The Burnt Chef Project have raised awareness on the scale of problems that kitchen workers face across the country, whilst offering training and wellbeing exercises for staff.

It follows findings provided by the charity, which revealed four out of five hospitality professionals report having experienced at least one mental health issue during their career, with over a third of respondents unsure on whether they will remain in the industry.

Talking about some of the recent changes that have been embraced within hospitality, Alex Bond Owner of both the Michelin-starred Alchemillia, and Mollis, said: "I think it's really important. I think that with the changes that are happening in our industry, they're all created to help create an environment or an industry that doesn't crush people's mental health, whether it's paying them better, or reducing their hours, or just generally not being a complete c**t for no reason."

He added: “Your personal life, or your business, or your whatever it is that's put you in a mood is not somebody else's problem to bear.”

With the industry currently experiencing a staff shortage and hospitality representatives admitting that the sector has a brand image problem, retaining staff is a massive challenge for many businesses.

For Tom Spenceley, Head Chef at The Ledbury, more awareness doesn’t just help staff on a personal level it’s also helped businesses retain staff.

"I think a massive thing about retaining the team is making sure that you look after them as best you can. Not just in their working environment but personally as well,” explained Tom.


Whilst a lot has changed for the better issues remain with mental health still being seen as a stigma or a weakness particularly amongst men.

"Guys have got this stigma that you can't show emotion, you can't have a breakdown, you can't cry, or you can't show weakness, but I think everyone's the same,” said Tom.

He added: “Everyone has feelings that they need to get out or release at some point and to be able to let them and give them the opportunity to do that I think it's really important."

For Alex days like World Mental Health Day and work from groups like The Burnt Chef Project are essential to address challenges that remain on the horizon.

Alex explained: "For me it's mega important. Days like World Mental Health Day and projects like The Burnt Chef Project are super important. A lot of it comes from grassroots from us as a generation of chefs that are trying to change that old school mentality.”

In these challenging times…

The Staff Canteen team are taking a different approach to keeping our website independent and delivering content free from commercial influence. Our Editorial team have a critical role to play in informing and supporting our audience in a balanced way. We would never put up a paywall and restrict access – The Staff Canteen is open to all and we want to keep bringing you the content you want; more from younger chefs, more on mental health, more tips and industry knowledge, more recipes and more videos. 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 - we want to do more for you.

A single coffee is more than £2, a beer is £4.50 and a large glass of wine can be £6 or more.

Support The Staff Canteen from as little as £1 today. Thank you.

Alex South

Alex South

Editor 10th October 2022

“A generation of chefs that are trying to change that old school mentality”