Well, in the healthy living workshop held at the Roots 2016 culinary conference, people on the panel were extremely candid about their personal challenges and stumbling blocks. And, because of that, we truly were inspired by their stories – and we hope that you will be, too.
The panel consisted of:
Seasoned food writer and editor, the moderator Arthur Bovino
Chef Zane Holmquist
Chef Phillip Speer
Chef Lynne Weems Ryan
Chefs, by the very nature of their career choices, work long hours, often in what’s considered “off hours,” so quality sleep is very important – and yet, in different ways, all of the panel members have struggled with sleep challenges and have needed to find methods of obtaining quality of sleep. Here is what Lynne has to say about her personal challenges and some solutions she has found:
Phillip, meanwhile, suffered from serious sleep apnea. In fact, during sleep studies, he was waking up nearly every minute – and a significant contributing factor was his obesity. After making lifestyle changes, including weight loss of approximately 100 pounds, eliminating caffeine, not smoking, participating in regular physical activity and refusing to keep a television set in his bedroom, the quality of sleep greatly improved.
If sleep challenges are interfering with your healthy lifestyle, here are twelve tips for quality sleep provided by a Harvard University publication.
At The Chef’s Garden, we were especially interested in the discussion about the importance of providing a living wage to staff. Sustainable farming, in our view, is socially responsible farming – and that is reflected in how we treat our team, our customers, our vendors and our community. Here’s more about what the healthy living panel had to say on the subject.
The ideal environment, Phillip says, is one where staff are paid a living wage and also have the ability to have conversations about whether or not the team is getting enough sleep and to discuss whatever other challenges they are facing. The goal, he says, isn’t to have a kitchen full of “whiny wusses,” but to have open conversations about issues that matter.
Some culinary staff, as just one example, might work in a New York restaurant – but, because of their wages and the cost of living, they have a three-hour daily commute from New Jersey, which can exhaust them. Then, after a day of preparing wonderful food, they eat fast food tacos because they don’t have the money or time to do otherwise. If someone is paid like a child, Phillip believes, it’s hard for him or her to not live like a child. So, each restaurant model, he says, should build in efficiencies and other ways to increase revenue so that profits can be shared with staff. This is what creates staff loyalty; lowers staff attrition; and creates a productive work culture.
Zane, meanwhile, points out the impossibility of having life/work balance when you don’t have a roof over your head, when you’re working two jobs just to keep the kids fed and the car running. Being on that economic treadmill, he says, isn’t conducive for effective hospitality. Here’s more:
You can watch the entire workshop on this video and discover more about how Zane lost 35 pounds; Andrew, 45; and Phillip, 100. The chefs candidly discuss other challenging issues, including alcoholism, legal troubles, health challenges and more, and Lynne also discusses her belief in the restorative power of friendship.