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Ruth hegarty chef network edit
Ruth Hegarty, head of community at Chef Network, at the launch of the Kitchen Workplace Charter.

Kitchen Culture Symposium To Highlight The Importance Of Positive Leadership

Chef Network, Ireland's largest community of chefs, will host the event.


Chef Network, Ireland's community of professional chefs, will host a Kitchen Culture Symposium on Tuesday, November 19th to showcase food leadership in kitchens around Ireland.

With over 3,700 members, it's fair to say that Chef Network represents the beliefs of many Irish chefs. Last year, the network launched the Kitchen Workplace Charter, which is a set of guiding principles that kitchens around the country can follow to create a positive work environment.

The Kitchen Culture Symposium will follow on from the Kitchen Workplace Charter, placing major focus on leadership in the industry. The symposium will highlight several figures who are known for their positive leadership style, including Ross Lewis of Chapter One, Paula Stakelum of Ashford Castle, Laura Dent of Gather & Gather and Tom Flavon of the Limerick Strand Hotel, each of whom will speak about their leadership experience. Following this discussion, there will be a Q&A with the speakers moderated by Ruth Hegarty, head of community at Chef Network.

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Ruth Hegarty

Speaking about the symposium, Ruth said, “A key element is learning about what good leadership looks like and how it can be achieved. We are looking at this both from the perspective of very experienced and renowned chefs like Ross Lewis who will share what they have learned over the years, but also from the point of view of chefs at an earlier stage in their career who can speak about what they want in a workplace and how good mentorship has impacted them.”

Ruth added, “The event is also about celebrating our positive leaders. We have incredible role models in this profession; they need to be recognised and their wisdom needs to be shared. We want to champion those who mentor and nurture the next generation of chefs, and we want to highlight the many positive examples of leadership in the chef profession.”

Chefs launch the Chef Network Kitchen Workplace Charter.
Chefs launch the Chef Network Kitchen Workplace Charter.

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The Stage Listing

At the Kitchen Culture Symposium, Chef Network will also launch its new initiative, the Stage Listing. A stage is a period of time in which a chef spends time in another kitchen to learn valuable new skills, whether they're just starting out in their career or whether they're a more experienced chef looking to upskill in a new area. 

A stage is usually a crucial part of a chef's development, showing them how kitchens operate, helping them to gain real kitchen experience and much more. Over the past number of years, we have seen stories surface about young stagiares (the term for chefs undertaking a stage) being mistreated, made to work ridiculous hours and more, so it's encouraging to see a system like the Stage Listing come into effect. The Stage Listing will be an online system, the first of its kind in Ireland, which will help to connect chefs seeking stages with others who are happy to open their kitchens to help teach their peers. 

The Kitchen Culture Symposium will take place at the Ballsbridge Hotel, Dublin on Tuesday, November 19th from 5pm until 7pm, followed by a celebratory food and drink reception. Tickets cost €20 for Chef Network members or €25 for non-members and can be purchased here.