About three weeks ago, I took the opportunity to attend the Oxford Food Symposium Kitchen Table Gathering on chefs’ identities.
Because it was an honest conversation, we very quickly got to reality: that the profession is becoming unsustainable for many. Perhaps it always was, but we chose to/had to overlook that.
We heard talented young chefs – Nia Minard, Dr. Cordula Peters, Caitríona Nic Philbín and Gaurish Shyam – share the hard choices they have had to make. Sometimes even giving up full-time careers as chefs.
Fortunately the industry still benefits from their talent.
Equally hard is the choice to create positive change. Billy Wagner talked about the complexities that came with implementing a 4-day week at Nobelhart & Schmutzig, even though the benefits were plenty.
There is such a need for these stories to be told. And for someone like Harold McGee to lend his weight to these conversations. Rather than the airtime being reserved for celebrated chefs, who are often disconnected from how young people experience the industry today.