The founder, Kris Hall, works with approximately 500 hospitality staff, mainly chefs, across the South through both the supply of food ingredients as well as food photography via his business Nose 2 Tail Photography.
"I've been working closely within the hospitality industry for around 8 years and have seen first hand the struggles of mental health issues within the trade with both clients and friends.
Long antisocial hours, tough environmental conditions and pressures to perform are just some of the issues that hospitality professionals are fighting against on a daily basis. Years of these conditions provide a hot bed of mental health issues such as anxiety, high levels of stress, alcohol and drug abuse and depression. Not to mention the impact of the working hours plus the above mentioned conditions attributing to the breakdown of relationships with husbands, wives, spouses and families.
A recent 'At Boiling Point' survey of chefs by Nestlé showed that 81% of chefs had experienced mental health issues within their career and 47% would not feel comfortable talking about their health concerns with their colleagues.
There is a strong stigma within the hospitality trade. The term "Badge of Honour" is often used. It means that an individual will suffer in silence at personal cost over letting the team down or at risk of being 'singled out'. I want to change that on its head and redefine the term. Chefs should be able to discuss the state of their mental health and gain support from their peers and employers. It's important that although mental health can't be seen it is regularly discussed and policies reviewed. This should be the industries new definition of Badge of Honour.
In May 2019 I decided I wanted to do something that would aid the professionals I'm surrounded by every day by using the skills that I have with photography and take simple, poinient, black and white portraits of as many hospitality staff as possible to signify and convey one thing; 'you don't truly know know whats going on in the shadows of the mind'. The point of these photos are to raise awareness and create open conversation regarding mental health.
I'll be using this platform as an opportunity to raise money for mental health and peer - to - peer support training with the intention of creating a better and stronger network for hospitality professionals.
The project has already had a wealth of support from all over the South including Bath and Bristol as well as write ups in The Caterer. In addition a number of sponsorship events have taken place such as pop up's, mental health talks, raffles and marathon runs to raise money and build the profile of the Burnt Chef project nationwide.
Crucial changes to the way in which the industry operates is required in order to improve working conditions and improve mental health for all hospitality professionals.
The Burnt Chef project is self funded and is a non profit project run by Nose 2 Tail Photography.
Please keep an eye on social media channels for fundraising events throughout the year.