Hospitality’s Dirty Little Secret

Hello and thanks for stopping by our new blog. I thought I would start updating the blog weekly with various topics including industry insights, behind the scenes at Crockers and all our exciting news.

Our first post is about the hospitality industries dirty little secret.

So who watched Gordon Ramsey on Drugs last week? No it’s not a show with Gordon testing out the latest illegal highs but a fascinating look at the issue of Cocaine in restaurants.

The program got me thinking about my experiences with drugs in various kitchens I’ve worked in. Now I can honestly say that I’ve never touched anything other than alcohol. I just never saw the point of it. Smoking, snorting or injecting yourself with a load of junk containing god knows what.

Have I experienced drugs in the kitchen? Not openly. We never had guys in the staff areas doing lines or dropping pills but you kind of had your suspicions. There was always talk of guys going out after work to a local club doing pills and what ever else. This one time we had a chef go AWOL the next day as he had hit it so hard. The next day he ended up on the other side of London dropping the rest of the team in hot water.

I thought it was interesting that ITV used Gordon Ramsey as the face of this show. Gordon like myself says he’s never touched a single drug and I believe him. However it’s the pressure that chef’s are put under by bosses like Gordon that pushes them to this extreme. The hours chef’s are expected to work take our bodies to the absolute limit. Then on top of the hours add in the pressure of working in a 1, 2 or 3 star restaurant to such high levels of expectations.

My first job in London was working for one of Gordon’s ex head chefs. I was living in Berkhamsted at the time which meant getting the 5:35am train each day. This would get me into Euston in just enough time to run down the road to work ready for 6:45am. You then work all day, often without a break or food. Then it’s back on the last train at Euston, which in those days was 12:30am. I’d be picked up from Berkhamsted station at 1:15am, grab a quick shower, some food and back up at 5:15am to do it all again. I don’t know how I didn’t turn to drugs.

Do I agree with chefs using drugs? No! But I do understand why they might feel the need to. I was really impressed with the way Gordon handled himself and took some responsibility. I am a huge believer that there is and needs to be a change coming in the industry. Bosses need to start respecting their staff more and the staff need to stop expecting to be run into the ground.

I am passionate about creating an environment in our restaurant where our staff are happy and well looked after. This can only do good things to the experience you our guests can expect.

Thanks for reading, please feel free to leave a comment below.


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