Chef welfare has never been more in the spotlight

There is no doubt that 2020 has thrown up a huge number of challenges for chefs across the UK. As the industry shut down in March, many chefs feared for their jobs and livelihoods as COVID19 created such uncertainty about the future.

The Craft Guild of Chefs has been blown away by the resilience and determination from chefs. Many have used this opportunity to reflect, improve their skills and diversify the business with some even using the time to put in an entry for the National Chef of the Year competition. The comments coming back from judges already shows the standard of entries created in lockdown has been extremely high.

We know going back to work isn’t going to fix all the problems; some chefs are still nervous about the environment whilst others are worried about the economic impact if consumer confidence remains low. Socially distancing will also have an impact on how a business operates and this brings additional uncertainty over the coming weeks and months. As an industry, we all need to support each other through these challenges.

How is the industry helping with the return to work?

As organisers of the NCOTY competition, we have spoken to many sponsors over the last few months, who all do so much to support the industry and those working within it. One of those is our headline sponsor, Unilever Food Solutions, with its Knorr Professional brand, who has gone above and beyond to get behind chefs, right when they need it most.

This inspiring brand believes a foodservice business thrives only when the people who work there do thrive. They have co-founded the #Fairkitchens movement that has chef welfare at its heart because “no meal should cost someone’s wellbeing”.

#FairKitchens is an inclusive industry-wide movement to better the lives of operators around the world. The aim is to open a conversation around the unhealthy working conditions of our industry and call for change, because a healthier culture makes for a healthier business. #FairKitchens aims to raise the standards of our industry to better retain the talent we have today and to attract the talent we need for the future. This will be done by sharing resources and stories from the industry to inspire the change.

FairKitchens primary

#Fairkitchens has teamed up with Hospitality Action on this inspiring initiative. Hospitality Action was established in 1837 and has since offered vital assistance to all who work, or have worked within hospitality in the UK. Whatever challenge you face - from physical illness or mental health issues to financial difficulty, family problems to addiction - Hospitality Action is there to get you back on your feet again. And when it’s no longer possible to work, they can help you prepare for the next phase of your life.

What resources does #Fairkitchens provide?

  • A framework to help chefs start a conversation with their teams
  • Practical insight from real chefs about how to run “Fair Kitchens”
  • Access to specific resources for Hospitality and Food service professionals

How can you get involved?

We want the industry to get behind the #FairKitchens movement and are encouraging you to support it. Change will only come from you and #FairKitchens wants to hear & share your own stories. Follow the updates on Facebook and use @Fairkitchens to start the conversation. Also follow on Instagram and use @wearefairkitchens. Find our resources and stories on the website at

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