Eight in Ten UK Chefs Experience Mental Health Issues, are Chefs at boiling point?

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

In a recent independent survey of UK chefs, CHEF has found that eight in ten of those working in professional kitchens (81%) have experienced signs of stress or mental health issues at some point during their careers*. Despite the overall increased efforts directed towards mental health awareness during the past decade, almost half (48%) believe that not enough is being done to support chef mental health in the workplace*.

Professional chef plating up a dish

Chefs – Dealing with Workplace Stress in Hospitality

We all agree that the hospitality industry is an exciting, ever-evolving place to work, but it all comes with a fast pace and pressure. There is increasing acknowledgement that more needs to be done to open-up conversations around mental health in chefs, and as such, CHEF has commissioned an extensive report to gain a better understanding of how chefs are affected and what can be done to improve the kitchen environment and lower stress levels*. 


Workplace Stress and Anxiety – Where Do They Sit in the Kitchen? 

The research shows that the top factors currently leading to work-related stress are staff shortages (58%), lack of time (43%) and limited budgets (42%)*. The lack of daylight was also cited, with 41% saying it negatively impacted on their wellbeing*. 

Not only is stress having an impact on the mental wellbeing of those in professional kitchens, CHEF’s research has also revealed it’s having a negative impact on wider business operations, with almost three-quarters (73%) of chefs admitted to calling in sick due to stress*.


How to Reduce Work Related Stress in Professional Kitchens? 

CHEF has collaborated with Renée Clarke, workplace wellbeing expert from The Work Well Hub, to assess the current situation, provide invaluable insight and advice for creating a healthy workplace environment that will encourage creativity and reduce stress and anxiety. Industry insights, survey results, as well as Renée’s tips to improving chefs’ wellbeing can be found in the ‘At Boiling Point: Addressing mental wellbeing in professional kitchens’ report

The research identified creativity as a key factor in reducing stress levels and increasing employee satisfaction with almost nine in ten chefs (87%) in agreement that more freedom to be creative in the kitchen would significantly improve their stress levels*. However, the vast majority (85%) stated that their creativity is being stifled by other pressures in the kitchen*. 


Mental Wellbeing Shouldn’t Be the Price

Former CHEF Consultant Andrej Prokes, Chef at Nestlé Professional said: 

“Being a chef is, I think, one of the most intensely satisfying jobs there is, but it comes at a price. As you’d expect, working at pace in a busy kitchen comes with its challenges, especially when you are putting your heart and soul into creating the perfect dish. However, that price should not be the mental health of chefs and too often these days, it is. 

CHEF’s survey results clearly demonstrate that mental health and work related stress is a significant issue affecting chefs across the UK and with the support of industry experts, professionals and campaigners, this report goes a long way to understanding the causes and what more can be done to raise mental health awareness, improve communication across the industry and probably most significantly, reduce stress levels leading to chef mental health issues. For me, it’s a must-read for anyone running or working in a professional kitchen”.


Chef Mental Health Through the Eyes of a Charity CEO

Trade charity, Hospitality Action, whose work offers a crucial lifeline to those who work in the hospitality industry have welcomed the report, with their Chief Executive, Mark Lewis commenting:

“The most recent survey results from Nestlé Professional® add to the growing body of evidence that there is still much to do to with regards to mental wellbeing in the kitchen.”, he added, “We applaud anything that can be done to raise awareness of and destigmatise an issue that costs too many lives in our industry.”



At Nestlé Professional we understand the high pressure chefs are operating under and we recognise that great dishes depend on craftsmanship and small details. That’s why when we create our CHEF products we are always thinking about you, the chefs, to help you unleash your creativity and create dishes you’re proud to serve. 


* At Boiling Point’ survey of 102 UK-based chefs. Censuswide in collaboration with Nestlé Professional® and CHEF®, March 2019