We asked several Food Lab members to reflect on the Food Shots. To tell us how they’re working towards a brighter future, and what others can do to enact change.

I’m a corporate executive chef at Unilever Food Solutions. I decided to have a career in restaurants for the love of food and the kitchen. Everyone in the food industry has a story like that — something that makes them passionate about food and the opportunity to create dishes and feed others. But I, like many, left restaurant life behind. Balancing family with the demands of the kitchen became unsustainable.

Although the future for restaurants seems promising with more and more diners eating out, far fewer people want to work in restaurants due to the tough conditions - long hours, stress, and burnout - once seen as a rite of passage. We at UFS conducted a global study showing that 74% of chefs feel sleep deprived to the point of exhaustion, 63% report suffering from depression, and 34% feel under-appreciated daily and 53% feel pushed to breaking point.

This is a major challenge for the industry. But challenge creates opportunity if we can change the current culture we can create a brighter future for chefs, diners and the food service industry.

To do it right, we are working with chefs and a coalition of partners to create the #FairKitchens movement. A Fair Kitchen is a positive, sustainable workplace — one where staff happiness is as important as diner satisfaction. It is time for kitchens to become as sustainable for chefs and their teams as the food they serve. It is a big task that can only happen if together we develop and implement solutions – training, expert advice, certification, diner awareness and more - that lead to long-term, systemic change.

"I've spent most of my career working in the culinary business with Nestlé in R&D trying to understand and help people around the world answer fundamental questions such as – what will I cook (and eat) for dinner tonight?"

"We have leveraged this knowledge at Nestlé, to innovate product solutions that encourage more home cooking. For example, we provide consumers with product mixes to help them prepare trendy, authentic and healthy dishes with ingredients they might find in their kitchen cupboard. Through this, they are more likely to cook meals with more vegetables, grains and other nutrient-rich ingredients compared to meals eaten out of home. 

We also provide cooking suggestions and ideas of healthy recipes that can be shared among family members and help them improve their kitchen skills.  This transmission of cooking knowledge and healthy recipes can help to build a solid relationship with food from one generation to the next in an unbroken chain."

"Throughout my career, I have had wonderful experiences in many countries, with the opportunity to learn by accompanying people as they shop, cooking with them in their homes, and listening to the challenges they face every day as they cook for themselves and their families.  I have learnt that cuisine is culture, and that touching, tasting and sharing during the cooking of meals and eating together is where the goodness of homemade food can be found."

Sean Westcott,

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Einav Geven,
Corporate Executive Chef, Unilever Food Solutions
Head, Nestlé Product Technology Centre (NPTC) Food

We asked several Food Lab members to reflect on the Food Shots. To tell us how they’re working towards a brighter future, and what others can do to enact change.

Einav Geven,
Corporate Executive Chef, Unilever Food Solutions

I’m a corporate executive chef at Unilever Food Solutions. I decided to have a career in restaurants for the love of food and the kitchen. Everyone in the food industry has a story like that — something that makes them passionate about food and the opportunity to create dishes and feed others. But I, like many, left restaurant life behind. Balancing family with the demands of the kitchen became unsustainable.

Although the future for restaurants seems promising with more and more diners eating out, far fewer people want to work in restaurants due to the tough conditions - long hours, stress, and burnout - once seen as a rite of passage. We at UFS conducted a global study showing that 74% of chefs feel sleep deprived to the point of exhaustion, 63% report suffering from depression, and 34% feel under-appreciated daily and 53% feel pushed to breaking point.

This is a major challenge for the industry. But challenge creates opportunity if we can change the current culture we can create a brighter future for chefs, diners and the food service industry.

To do it right, we are working with chefs and a coalition of partners to create the #FairKitchens movement. A Fair Kitchen is a positive, sustainable workplace — one where staff happiness is as important as diner satisfaction. It is time for kitchens to become as sustainable for chefs and their teams as the food they serve. It is a big task that can only happen if together we develop and implement solutions – training, expert advice, certification, diner awareness and more - that lead to long-term, systemic change.

Sean Westcott,
Head, Nestlé Product Technology Centre (NPTC) Food

"We have leveraged this knowledge at Nestlé, to innovate product solutions that encourage more home cooking. For example, we provide consumers with product mixes to help them prepare trendy, authentic and healthy dishes with ingredients they might find in their kitchen cupboard. Through this, they are more likely to cook meals with more vegetables, grains and other nutrient-rich ingredients compared to meals eaten out of home. 

We also provide cooking suggestions and ideas of healthy recipes that can be shared among family members and help them improve their kitchen skills.  This transmission of cooking knowledge and healthy recipes can help to build a solid relationship with food from one generation to the next in an unbroken chain."

"I've spent most of my career working in the culinary business with Nestlé in R&D trying to understand and help people around the world answer fundamental questions such as – what will I cook (and eat) for dinner tonight?"

"Throughout my career, I have had wonderful experiences in many countries, with the opportunity to learn by accompanying people as they shop, cooking with them in their homes, and listening to the challenges they face every day as they cook for themselves and their families.  I have learnt that cuisine is culture, and that touching, tasting and sharing during the cooking of meals and eating together is where the goodness of homemade food can be found."

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