Taste the difference: 11 ways diversity and inclusion make kitchens successful, safe and fair

Working with people from diverse backgrounds brings a multitude of fresh perspectives, making a kitchen more innovative. However, to see the benefits of diversity, inclusion is essential. When everyone feels welcome, accepted and valued, they are more likely to express their thoughts and ideas freely. Their diverse perspectives enrich the whole team. 

Be inspired by our FairKitchens ambassadors, who share their insights into how diversity makes us stronger, how to create inclusive workspaces and the difference treating people with dignity can make.

Celebrate people for who they are

To create an inclusive workplace, allow team members to observe meetings so they can learn the various aspects of the business. It helps them to mature and stay engaged. Encourage your staff to express themselves and who they are. People need to be seen and heard. When they feel safe, they can speak up if there are problems. Assign different roles and duties to people so they can contribute in new ways. It helps them find their strengths and their colleagues will appreciate their participation. 

Angelique Ricketts
Line Cook, Jack Astor's Bar and Grill

The small things make a difference

Give your staff a break when they need a break. One of the most important things is offering to listen to your team when there's a problem. People forget small things, like saying ‘please’ and ‘thank you’. It only takes a second to say, it can go a long way to show respect. Stay humble. We are all human and have the same emotions. 

Danielle Venter
Chef, Unilever Food Solutions South Africa

A positive culture protects mental health

If you focus on training and improving individuals, the entire team will get stronger. Chefs need to be confident in themselves and their skillset. This is a fast-paced environment, especially during service. It burns you out. We need to be more aware of people's health and manage staffing better so people can be rejuvenated. A positive kitchen culture allows us to have enough time off. Then you’re in a better space when you are at work, and you can work better. 

Hagashen Moodley
Executive Sous Chef, Beverly Hills Hotel

Everyone should have a chance to succeed

A fair kitchen is run without discrimination and has opportunities for everyone. Good work is acknowledged. There is no favouritism. Chefs work so hard and burnout is always a risk. We need to be allowed to take breaks. 

Pinky Maruping
Chef, Unilever Food Solutions South Africa

Danielle Venter, Hagashen Moodley and Pinky Maruping had A FAIR CHAT to talk about creating diverse kitchens. Watch it now.

Mentoring is about more than skills training

Concentrate on the culture in your kitchen. Focus on creating a space that’s safe, where people want to work. It improves staff retention and makes you an attractive employer. Help your team grow by training them. A true mentor doesn’t only teach people about cooking and techniques. We’re coaching them to treat others with respect and trying to make a difference in their lives. 

Paul Smith 
Executive Chef and Owner, 1010 Bridge

Happy people work better

If you try to make other people’s day better, it makes you welcoming to different staff members. This brings more diversity to the kitchen. When you have people of diverse backgrounds on your staff and you treat them with respect and dignity, it translates onto the plate. Lead by example and be a mentor to your team. Help people exceed your expectations and achievements.

Brandon Collins
Corporate Executive Chef, Unilever Food Solutions North America

Watch Paul Smith and Brandon Collins have A FAIR CHAT about‌ inclusive spaces and supporting the mental health of your team.

Inclusion helps us grow

When people from different backgrounds and countries work together, amazing things can happen. There are innovative techniques and ideas. It’s always interesting. In a diverse kitchen, we keep learning, which makes all of us better. Inclusion is essential for growth. We need to focus on it always. 

Mawiyah Salisu
Chef, Richmond Station, Toronto

Welcome free expression

Create an open, communicative and collaborative kitchen so your team feels confident to express their thoughts and ideas. Let go of the standard hierarchical kitchen model. Head chefs can wash dishes and kitchen hands can run a service. Share your lived experiences with your team, where appropriate. There is power in vulnerability.

Sebastian Pasinetti
Co-Founder, Pasinetti Group and OKO Restaurant

Be inspired by your team members

Diversity expands our minds and makes us better people. Every person we interact with, who has a different culture to us, can teach us something new. Different traditions, styles of cooking and even ways of interacting with one another can inspire us and what we create.

Michelle Trusselle
Owner and executive chef, Myristica

Collaboration sparks creativity

When people engage with others from different backgrounds, they become more patient, understanding, tolerant and curious. We bond over our similarities as well as our differences. A diverse team can handle challenges faster, because everyone has a unique perspective to draw on when we need to find solutions.

When a team collaborates, it sparks creativity. Through that we can all learn from each other and try new ways of working.

Rita Soueidan 
Head Chef, Maisan15

Diversity brings innovation

People from different backgrounds, genders and lifestyles have diverse and enriching perspectives. This helps us find creative solutions to challenges. When we all feel comfortable sharing, we all learn from each other and can innovate. It makes a business successful. A team that incorporates different cultures, cuisines and techniques offers a unique and exciting culinary experience for customers. 

Andres Cardona
Chef, Unilever Food Solutions Mexico

Implementing the changes needed to make a kitchen truly diverse and inclusive can seem daunting, but the benefits are worth it. Start today by learning more about your team members, asking them about daily lives and their professional ambitions. Small actions, like treating people with dignity and respect, make a profound difference. 

Are you ready to gain the skills you need to run a diverse, inclusive kitchen where everyone can thrive? Sign up for our free leadership training today and learn from the FairKitchens ambassadors and experts.

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