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Ireland

Chef Network Cooks Up Positive Kitchen Culture

The Kitchen Workplace Charter asks chefs to make a commitment to making their own kitchen a great place to work.

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With a network spanning over 3,600 chefs, Chef Network is the network for chefs in Ireland.

Representing chefs who are at all stages of their careers and across all sectors, Chef Network has grown phenomenally in just three years and brings chefs together in a way that has never been seen before.

Created with the backing of IFSA – the Irish Foodservice Suppliers’ Alliance – Chef Network is led by chefs with the aims of bringing greater professionalism to the career, making kitchens a great place to work and promoting the opportunities in the industry. Together this community of chefs has created the ‘Kitchen Workplace Charter’ to promote better workplaces and positive environments for chefs within the industry.

Kitchen teams around the country have been working on implementing the Kitchen Workplace Charter and chefs including Derry Clarke of l'Ecrivain, Eric Matthews of Chapter One, and chef and restaurateur Dylan McGrath have joined the call for positive leadership in the industry, asking chefs to get behind a positive kitchen culture and embrace the Kitchen Workplace Charter.

A need for change

Head of Community at Chef Network, Ruth Hegarty explains: “It is so important that we change how the industry is perceived because we have so many wonderful stories of how the industry has enriched lives. But at the same time, we need to make sure that professional kitchens are great environments to work in.

“There was a genuine desire from many leaders in kitchens to have a framework that all the team could contribute to, and so the Kitchen Workplace Charter was born.”

The Kitchen Workplace Charter is based on five key principles: to build a positive and encouraging environment, to nurture camaraderie and team spirit, to promote learning and development, to prioritise work-life balance, and to give back to the chef community. Each principal is accompanied by guidelines and suggestions from the chef community on how they can be achieved. Companies and establishments including Gather&Gather, Dalata Hotel Group, Lough Erne Resort, the Gleneagle Hotel Group, Limerick Strand and many more have signed up and committed to creating a positive kitchen culture.

Ruth continues: “Retaining talent is a key issue in the hospitality industry and for kitchen workplaces, committing to the Kitchen Workplace Charter speaks volumes in terms of what establishments stand for, their culture and how they treat their staff.”

Making the commitment

Committing to the Kitchen Workplace Charter is simple. Log onto ChefNetwork.ie, commit to the charter and talk to your team. Display the charter as a visual reminder, create a charter plan and ask for team buy-in. Template plans and a discussion forum are all available on ChefNetwork.ie

Launched in 2016 by IFSA - the Irish Foodservice Suppliers’ Alliance – Chef Network provides a platform for chefs across the island of Ireland. All chefs, and student-chefs, can sign up for free to Chef Network, become part of an existing network of 3,600 culinary professionals, access chef blogs and insights, valuable business and culinary resources, discussion forums, jobs, and training and networking events.

From its inception, Chef Network received tremendous support from leading lights within the industry and the network now plays a vital role in the future of catering and hospitality in Ireland.

To become a member of Chef Network, register for free at ChefNetwork.ie.