“I didn’t know who I was”

Text reads: "In the end, I did not really know who I was."

I know of a number of chefs who juggle demands of the various roles they play in life alongside that of a chef or FOH professional: mother, partner, parent, mentor, friend. The society that defined what these roles should look like never took into consideration people working in demanding professions. So it fell on us to deal with the dichotomy between work and life.

Yet, no one gave us an instruction manual. We had to figure things out the hard way: through self-doubt, confusion, some tears, guilt and lots of regrets over personal failings. And to add to the pressure, we had to look like we had it all under control when we walked into the kitchen.

But this was the old way. Now there is far more support available in this industry, if you are willing to reach out for it. Which is why I am inviting you to take advantage of 1-1 support through coaching.

Get in touch if you would like to find out how to manage the expectations from both work and your personal life.

Why #BetterCheflife coaching?

Do you struggle to set and honour boundaries between your work and your personal life? But do you want to:

  • Say ‘no’ when you need to
  • Make the right choice in the moment
  • Stick to the promise you made to yourself

As I said in the video, going against the grain and choosing your own path is far from easy. But stick to your guns and you have better mental and physical health, improved relationships and ultimately more energy for your work.

Email me to sign up for a free 30-minute assessment to discuss your challenge and see if coaching can help you set and stick to those boundaries.

BetterCheflife Coaching: How it works

Poster for #BetterCheflife coaching

Who is this for? For Hospitality professionals (BOH & FOH) who struggle to set healthy boundaries between their work and their personal lives.

How will it help me? Our careers are enmeshed with our personal lives in this high pressure, high stress industry. A coach can help you set healthy boundaries between the two, while also holding you accountable, so you stick to them.

What is coaching? Simply an informal conversation (confidential, non-judgemental) with a trained professional who helps you resolve a particular problem.

What will I gain? What is most important for you right now? Time for yourself on your day off? Dealing with the day-to-day stress or a health challenge? Sleeping better? Sticking to your workout?

How it works: We identify clear, easy-to-apply next steps that you can take. During our session we will also look at what might be getting in the way and how you can overcome those obstacles. Most importantly, with ongoing support from a coach, you are not left to figure out work life balance on your own.

Tell me more! You can email me here.

Where do I sign up? Book your free assessment session via this link.

#Create Your BetterCheflife coaching this September

Image of poster for Create Your #BetterCheflife coaching by Love Letters to Chefs

Introducing the #BetterCheflife coaching sessions: You are beyond passionate about your work as a chef or FOH professional, but you feel torn that it conflicts with your personal life so much:

  • You struggle to draw the line with taking responsibility, so work seeps into your personal time
  • You fully well know what you have to do to set boundaries, but find it challenging to put it into practice
  • You resent always having to choose between your career and your loved ones

Without a healthy relationship between the two, both your career and your relationships suffer. Furthermore, not having a clear separation between the two also takes a toll on your physical and mental health.

It all depends on how skilled you are at setting boundaries and more importantly, honouring them. Because from Day 1 in this industry, the line between work and your personal life gets blurred. There is a lot of general advice out there, but this is where having a coach on your side can help.

This month, Love Letters to Chefs is offering coaching to Hospitality professionals who want to set healthy boundaries and successfully separate their work from their personal lives. So that you can look forward to:

  • A long, fulfilling and sustainable career in Hospitality
  • Improved connection with your loved ones
  • Better physical and mental health

Are you ready for more of that? If yes, book your free Assessment Session to see if coaching is a good fit for where you are now.

All things to all people

A chef laying down wine glass to create a table setting at his restaurant.

Is this you?

You prepare to head home, but there you are, 45 minutes later, still giving instructions about the next day’s shift. You promise your son an afternoon at the park, but your day off gets interrupted with question after question.

You love being all things to all people. But that leaves you spinning plates and priorities, because no one else volunteers to take responsibility. You recognise that this has got to stop, if only for your own wellbeing. But you are not sure whether things will ever change.

What you need is to have someone in your corner – reminding you of what you value and gently holding you accountable to that. That is what coaching with Love Letters to Chefs offers.

Let me know in the comments if you resonate with this! And DM or get in touch via email if you want to know more about how 1-1 coaching can help you set better boundaries.

“I’m back in the kitchen”

Text reads: "It's like I was at home, but in my mind, I'm still back in the kitchen."

Is this you?

  • Does work linger in your mind, long after your shift ends?
  • Do you find yourself reliving each stressful situations of your work day?
  • Does it take you ages to switch off from ‘chef mode’, so you can get some rest?

You know that this goes with the territory when you are so passionate about your work. But you now recognise that this comes with a cost. You worry about what this is doing for your physical health in the long term and your day-to-day mental wellbeing. And you now want a more healthy relationship with your work.

I am here to tell you that this is totally achievable. Love Letters to Chefs is here to support you in setting those boundaries and navigating the challenges that come with that. Want to know more? Get in touch.

868686 Challenge article: Work life balance is not about the perfect rota

Image of article titled 'Work Life Balance is Not About Having The Perfect Rota' on Best Served Podcast website.

I am very proud to share my latest article, this time for Best Served Podcast and their 86 86 86 Challenge. So often we think that we are limited by our work schedules, and while this is in a way true, we forget what we actually have going for us. And what really matters in the end.

“Access to a good quality of life is never just about time, is it? There are people in regular 9-5 jobs who struggle to find fulfillment, living in messy homes and leading chaotic lives. Then there are people who grew up emotionally disconnected from their parents, even though as children, they spent a lot of time together. The bottom line is that a perfect schedule cannot guarantee a balanced life.”

Read the full article here.

Transitions are uncomfortable

Chef prepping lettuce leaves

For anyone in Hospitality making a change in their lives for work life balance: the transition is going to be uncomfortable. You might have had to make a hard choice. Or take a big decisions. Maybe even initiate a difficult conversation, so that you can enjoy better wellbeing than you currently enjoy.

Very often the change requires delicate negotiation with someone else: a customer, your employer or your spouse. They might not want to make adjustments or want things to be different. You might face your own doubts about whether it will all be worth it, in the end.

I do not have words of consolation for you, but I invite you to remind yourself of why you want this change in the first place. More time with your family? Peace of mind? Less stress? A little rest, so you are ready for the next shift?

Later this month, I am opening up coaching sessions to support Hospitality professionals navigate these big changes. Watch this space!

The Work Life Balance Conversations: Tobie-Anna Durk

For my third interview, I spoke to Tobie-Anna Durk, the founder of Kelly’s Cause Foundation who shared her thoughts on work life balance and how it impacts mental health:

“..so I think just having that awareness of how much work life balance and mental health tie-in with each other is going to hopefully bring about that change even more. But it kind of needs to come from the employee saying “No, I’m actually not going to do that” and the employers changing the way they work rotas.”

Tobie-Anna set up Kelly’s Cause Foundation to support Hospitality workers with training in Mental Health First Aid. You can watch the whole interview here.

What do you need to do for yourself?

Text reads: What do I need to do, just for myself??

The pandemic opened our eyes to a lot of truths about Hospitality. Many of us in this industry – whether restaurant owners or employees – began to ask: “What was it all for?”. The endless sacrifice, putting others first, saying no to what we needed.

Unfortunately, this is the journey that faces every martyr. They give, give, give, and at some point, begin to resent the people they served. The only difference is that in this industry, we collectively bought into the myth that to be a chef is to sacrifice self.

But as individuals, we can question whether you should take that idea at face value, or put your own spin on it. You might discover that you need ____ to function at your best as a chef. The blank might be an hour for yourself on your day off to read a book. Or an hour in your office where you are not disturbed, so you can catch up with the paperwork for running your kitchen.

It will not be easy to step into this new way of being. But I invite you to sit with that question: at first, on your day off. Then keep returning to it as and when you can. And of course, it goes without saying, do the things that you are guided to, chef!