Six tips how to build an inclusive culture in your kitchen

A FairKitchen is a place that's welcoming to all, where every voice is heard and where individuality is celebrated. It’s important to establish an inclusive workplace culture otherwise, you risk excluding great talent and setting your employees back.

This month’s theme of inclusivity in the kitchen opened up a variety of interesting discussions. From cultural diversity to mentoring, onboarding to addressing stereotypes, these 6 chefs and hospitality experts offered us unique insights and directions into how they address this broad topic.

1. Inclusivity makes way for new talent in the industry

“I think what the restaurant industry might not understand about individuals with autism is that it’s just way different. The pace and the way we work is different. The restaurant industry might require things a certain way but it can be a little different for individuals with disabilities, in terms of pace and everything of the sort.”

Jeremiah Josey,
Student Chef at The Culinary Institute of America


2. Prioritise comprehensive onboarding for new staff

“I believe staff of any position level, should be able to walk into a kitchen of a restaurant or office, and be welcomed into the team, have time and effort consistently shown to them to ensure they are given a comprehensive onboarding of the not only the brand but how the kitchen operates, the history behind the business and the plans for the business where the business is looking to make successful steps in the near future.

Team introductions and senior team monitoring what the person is doing throughout the day.’’

Thomas Leatherbarrow
CEO of The Leatherbarrow Corporation Ltd

3. An inclusive kitchen should be the norm - don’t settle for one that isn’t

‘’So much has changed, and that old school perception of the industry is definitely different to what it really is now. It's definitely a space where inclusion is encouraged and equality is encouraged and if you're not finding that's a workspace that you're feeling that, that's not the right workspace for you. You fight against that.’’

Candice Adams
Academic manager for Capsicum Cooking School


4. All team member’s contributions are important and equal

‘’I believe all people are unique and special. I always tell my staff to ‘stay in your lane.’ Don’t change who you are, focus on what makes you different, that is your strength.

Leading by example is very important to me, we are on the same level when we are in the kitchen.’’

Mahlomola Thamae
Chef at T.M Innovations

5. Communication is the key to team building 

“We see that there is a lot to improve in deep communication between employees in the kitchen. It is a result of the authority culture in the professional kitchen.

It is very powerful when a chef is trying to develop a communication skill, also for the team, to get the conversation started, leading into teambuilding.’’

Ankie Janssens
Owner of Mr Sammi Bistro Bar

6. Diversity and inclusivity leads to a successful business 

My best advice is to stop using stereotypes as a reference point and to consistently move outside of your comfort zone. Being a professional can look many different ways from person to person, but all of them are relevant. Prioritising a living wage and a significant work life balance makes a huge impact.

The staff reflects the demographics of the city that they live in, so when people come to work it feels familiar. This creates a dynamic where people want to be in our shared work space together and the food quality and service reflect that fact.''

Chef Robert Cottman
Executive Chef at World Cafe Live


An inclusive kitchen is a safe, fair and welcoming environment for all. Staff that are supported, appreciated and given the space to grow and develop, will be assets to any business. 

If you would like to learn more on how to create a diverse and inclusive team, sign up to our free online leadership programme today.

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