Kris Hall, Founder of The Burnt Chef Project, talks to nourish magazine about the work they are doing to ensure that there is support for hospitality professionals during the COVID pandemic and subsequent resource crisis.

Kris Hall

WHAT IS THE BURNT CHEF PROJECT?
8 out of 10 hospitality professionals report having experienced at least one mental health issue during their career.

The Burnt Chef Project is a non-profit social enterprise fully committed to making the hospitality profession healthier and more sustainable. We sell merchandise and courses to raise funds so that we can provide free support to the hospitality industry. We also build the capability of owners, line managers and employees through training to enhance the awareness of mental health and open conversations.

Our suite of market leading tools and services includes podcasts, free 24/7 SMS support service, free Academy Training app, courses, merchandise, and operational audits and action plans.

Our goal is to pave the way to a healthier, happier, and more sustainable hospitality industry.

WHAT HAS THE BURNT CHEF PROJECT BEEN DOING THIS YEAR?
Since COVID hit, we’ve been faced with the toughest year yet for hospitality – more than ever, the 3.2 million people who make up this fantastic industry are in need of support. In February, we launched a free SMS support service, whereby anyone involved in hospitality who wishes to talk about their mental health can text BURNTCHEF to 85258 free and confidentially 24/7.

We have also just partnered with The Drinks Trust to extend our support service to include a confidential support line. All calls are answered by counsellors and clinically trained psychotherapists to help callers receive in the moment support to help them cope with any personal or work-related problems. This free 24/7 helpline is available on 0800 9154610, by contacting helpline@drinkstrust. org.uk or by sending ‘Hi’ on Whatsapp to 00 353 87 369 0010. The helpline also offers an internal referral to over 30 various online Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) courses and includes the option to have up to six specialist 1:1 telephone sessions.

We wanted to get to the bottom of why we’re facing such a huge resource crisis, so we launched a survey in June and had a fantastic response from over 2,300 hospitality professionals. This told us that the main reason for people leaving the sector was down to not feeling valued or respected. This led us to launch an independent, data-driven wellbeing evaluation for hospitality businesses. The diagnostic tool, powered by Peopleful, uses objective metrics to understand the impact of the work environment on employee wellbeing and its effects on individual and organisational outcomes.

WHAT’S NEXT FOR THE BURNT CHEF PROJECT?
We are about to launch a HR support service for businesses. This free advice line is available to business owners and managers who need advice with challenges they face within the HR sector.

Aside from that, more content and more training around rota planning, reasonable adjustments at work, the modern slavery act, performance management courses, and so on. We will be increasing the work we do with catering colleges to build the resilience of the younger generation coming into the industry, such as through problem solving techniques and self-wellbeing improvements. We are in the process of looking to set up a network of free life coaches and therapists for the industry internationally, so we will have multi-lingual life coaches to support individuals on their own personal journeys. Long term sustained change is just around the corner – we just need individuals to join us on this journey.

  • Visit www.theburntchefproject.com to learn more about The Burnt Chef Project where you will find merchandise and information on their sponsorship programme.

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