Michelin-starred kitchens foster a culture of bullying, says report

Michelin-starred kitchens have long been known for their intense and high-pressure work environments. However, a recent report has shed light on the darker side of these prestigious kitchens, revealing a culture of bullying and harassment.

The report, which was conducted by the UK’s Unite union, surveyed over 300 chefs who had worked in Michelin-starred kitchens. The results were alarming, with 90% of respondents reporting that they had witnessed or experienced bullying or harassment in the workplace.

The report found that the bullying and harassment took many forms, including verbal abuse, physical intimidation, and even sexual harassment. Many chefs reported being subjected to long hours, low pay, and a lack of support from management.

The report also highlighted the role that the Michelin Guide plays in perpetuating this culture of bullying. Chefs reported feeling immense pressure to maintain their Michelin stars, with some even resorting to unethical practices such as using pre-prepared ingredients or hiding food waste to avoid losing their stars.

The report has sparked a conversation about the need for change in the restaurant industry. Many chefs and industry leaders have spoken out about the need for better working conditions and a more supportive culture in kitchens.

Some restaurants have already taken steps to address these issues. For example, the Michelin-starred restaurant The Ledbury in London has implemented a code of conduct that prohibits bullying and harassment in the workplace.

However, there is still much work to be done. The restaurant industry has long been known for its grueling work environments, and changing this culture will require a concerted effort from chefs, restaurant owners, and industry leaders.

Ultimately, the Michelin Guide itself may need to reevaluate its criteria for awarding stars. While the guide has long been seen as the ultimate arbiter of culinary excellence, it may be time to prioritize factors such as workplace culture and employee well-being in addition to food quality.

In the end, the restaurant industry must recognize that a culture of bullying and harassment is not only morally wrong, but also detrimental to the success of the industry as a whole. By prioritizing the well-being of chefs and other restaurant workers, we can create a more sustainable and equitable future for the industry.