The future appears bright for our industry, with more and more diners eating in restaurants. Yet we are losing great talent, fewer people are entering the profession, and young people are less likely to want to work in professional kitchens than any generation before. This leads to an enormous skills gap in cities across the world. There will be no great food on tables without inspired young people wanting to build a career in the kitchen.
Research conducted by Unilever Food Solutions reveals why people leave the industry. A set of daily deprivations – lack of sleep, nutrition and recognition - is having a serious impact on chef and staff well-being.
Chef Einav Gefen, Executive Chef at Unilever Food Solutions, says; “Chefs love what they do, but too often, pursuing their passion for cooking comes at a cost to their well-being. At times it often feels as though we, as the consumer, care more about the welfare of the chicken on our plate than the chef who has cooked it – this needs to change. We need to unite the industry by providing tangible solutions that will lead to a change for good. We are creating the ‘FairKitchens’ movement to inspire a new kitchen culture, championing chef well-being.”
A Fair Kitchen is a positive, sustainable workplace. One where staff happiness is as important as diner satisfaction. One where everyone is respected, and free to follow and build upon the 5 values expressed in The Code. We want to bring change to the industry through training, support networks, events and more.
Kat Kinsman, founder of the Chefs with Issues forum and Food & Wine writer said; “The restaurant industry has long been in crisis and chefs are suffering. The workforce is hungry for solutions and it’s time for industry partners and chefs to join forces and make a change. We are moving into the next phase of restaurant culture, where sustainable working conditions are finally acknowledged to be as important as sustainable ingredients – we need more ‘FairKitchens’.”
Chef Naama Tamir, co-owner of Lighthouse in Brooklyn New York, indicates that FairKitchens is part of the answer to the staff turnover and retention challenges the industry is facing. "Finding staff has been quite difficult. I think that's where this approach proves to be more sustainable in the restaurant world. Not having to train someone new very often, having this stable team that really does work together, has been helpful to Lighthouse in a huge way."
The ‘FairKitchens’ movement is calling upon the entire industry to inspire change to build a better kitchen culture and attract young people to stay in the industry. Through partnering with influential organizations and chefs such as Michael Gulotta, Kat Kinsman, Chef’s Roll and the Unilever Food Solutions network of over 300 chefs globally, the ambition is a world where 17 million restaurants are running ‘FairKitchens’.