Many chefs and culinary teams struggle to address mental health challenges.
At the 2023 Chef to Chef Conference, starting this Sunday, March 5 in Miami, Melinda Dorn, RCP Industry Support Specialist & Founding Secretary of Recovery Friendly Leader, will teach chefs how to talk to struggling colleagues and establish a plan, learn strategies for fostering resilience, implement a staff check-in system, and more.
Dorn shares her story with C+RC and why the topic of mental health is meaningful to her.
Club + Resort Chef (C+RC): Why did you select your particular presentation topic?
Melinda Dorn (MD): In 2015, I was working hundred hour weeks, drinking almost daily, medicated for anxiety and depression, and all but crippled by the fear of sharing my experience with my employer or coworkers. So I suffered in silence. When I did get the courage to tell one of the leaders, the solutions presented fell short. My story is not unique.
The evidence of this common predicament is the birth and growth of many groups (the kind I needed most, but didn’t have) which hold space for industry workers to create community and other orgs that teach leaders how to more effectively co-create safer, saner workspaces. No one has to struggle alone anymore.
C+RC: What will attendees walk away having learned from your presentation?
MD: The proposition that an owner, chef, or manager could skillfully wear many hats and be everything to everyone on their team, i.e. coach, doctor, therapist, or friend has always been a dangerous one. There is no need for this exhausting, ‘no boundaries’ leadership, since today there are more mental health, recovery, and wellness avenues for our culinary leaders and teams to walk down than ever before. Folks who attend the presentation will walk away with many tools, resources, and ideas to try out and bring back to their operations.
C+RC: What about it Chef to Chef are you most looking forward to?
MD: Whether it’s Chef Matarazzo’s Morning Mindset sessions, Chef Meuse’s presentation on navigating front and back-of-house relations, or Chef Waddington’s discussion of career culture, I’m attending to participate in more solution-focused discussions on how to promote human sustainability in the industry.
C+RC: Why are events like Chef to Chef important to this industry?
MD: What I’ve learned in the past few years is that personal or even industrial recovery can’t happen in isolation. Owners, managers and chefs who cling to old ideas risk business stagnation or even failure when they cut themselves off from learning opportunities by not attending conferences like C2C. We really are better together.
The annual Chef to Chef Conference is devoted exclusively to the specific needs of club and resort food-and-beverage operations. The Conference agenda is designed by practicing club chefs to ensure that it will be of practical use for attendees from the food-and-beverage management teams of private, semi-private and daily-fee clubs, resorts, golf courses and city, dining and yacht clubs, including Executive Chefs, Chefs de Cuisine and Sous Chefs, General Managers, F&B Directors/Managers and Clubhouse Directors/Managers.
The Chef to Chef Conference has grown from 55 attendees in Las Vegas to more than 425 in Miami. The event has crossed the country and has been hosted in many of America’s most exciting food cities, including New Orleans, San Francisco and Atlanta. Registration is sold out, and registration is closed.