Minute on the clock: Kris Hall, founder and chief executive of the Burnt Chef Project

15 November 2022 by
Minute on the clock: Kris Hall, founder and chief executive of the Burnt Chef Project

The founder and chief executive of the Burnt Chef Project speaks about the his latest initiatives

Can you tell us what the Burnt Chef Project has been doing for the industry in the past 12 months?

We've already run over 50 managers' mental health awareness training sessions, with 100 to go, so that's almost 2,000 managers we've trained. We have also trained 18 catering colleges in basic mental health awareness and stress reduction tips. We've developed further health and wellbeing modules, which we provide for free to both students and hospitality professionals in subjects such as diversity and inclusion, sleep, breathwork, menopause and nutrition

How has the social enterprise developed since it launched in May 2019?

We have developed a great deal beyond simply creating awareness about mental health and challenging mental health stigma. We've also developed a wide range of tools, services and partnerships aimed at providing comprehensive education and support to address the growing needs of the hospitality community.

Has the growth and direction of the company been driven by the Covid-19 pandemic and the increase in mental health challenges because of it?

Covid-19 has increased the mental health challenges in the industry and the Burnt Chef Project has definitely had to grow at a great pace to help support the growing needs of the community. However, I do believe that we would have ended up at the same point that we are now even if Covid hadn't appeared, albeit a few years down the road.

Covid-19 has increased the mental health challenges inthe industry

How does the Burnt Chef Project make its money to allow you to support the industry in the way you do

The Burnt Chef Project is a unique model in that for the first two years most of the funds we raised were from sales of custom-branded merchandise. This meant we had a valuable way of increasing awareness while also allowing us to release profits to put in place free to access services.

In the last 12 months, we've seen an increase in the hospitality community looking to support our work with fundraisers and for that we are incredibly grateful as it has allowed us to support even more individuals and design new, innovative ways of breaking down stigmas.

Can you tell us a bit about your new service, Thrive?

Through our Thrive partnership, we're allowing individuals to proactively maintain their wellbeing while having access to qualified support mechanisms like therapy. The service and therapists are there to support mental health first aid-trained individuals and managers helping peers . It's both NHS approved and available in nine languages.

Are there any more initiatives?

We are taking our newest team member, ‘Ellie', our three-metre inflatable ‘elephant in the room', on a tour of businesses and colleges over the next 12 months to spark conversations around mental health.

How can people in hospitality become a member of the Burnt Chef Project or get involved in some of the industry initiatives?

Individuals and businesses from all sides of the sector can look to support the Burnt Chef Project through our international ambassador scheme, sponsoring our free training, fundraising activities such as our skydive, purchasing merchandise or uniforms, or completing training courses.

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