C+RC’s Editor, Joanna DeChellis, discusses the importance of changing the narrative within the culinary industry.
A few months ago, Michael Matarazzo, CEC, Executive Chef of Farmington Country Club (Charlottesville, Va.), created a group for professional chefs on Facebook called “Chefs for Change.”
Within just a few weeks, the group has grown to 1,000 members and includes chefs from all segments of the foodservice industry.
Matarazzo’s mission is profound. He wants to connect the dots and flip the script for a more positive and productive future for all culinarians.
“I want to facilitate conversations that are not had often enough,” says Matarazzo. “I want to unite chefs from all walks of the industry so we can collectively begin to change the narrative of our profession. Balance, stress management, anxiety, depression, formal culinary education, professional associations, gender equality, diversity, and leadership styles are all part of it.”
Every day since its start, Matarazzo has posed a question to the group.
Some days, the questions are heavy: “What are your views on the industry impact of the ACF and the NRA?” and “Would you view it as weakness if a fellow chef or cook came to you about overwhelming stress, anxiety, fatigue, or depression?”
Other days, they’re lighter.
All of the questions encourage engagement, but they also cause followers to pause in their mindless social-media scroll and think for a minute about something they might not have considered.
That pause is where the magic lives. It’s a brief second to look through a bigger window and reach for the microphone.
“I believe this is how we can begin to effect change,” says Matarazzo.
Matarazzo and I have talked many times about how Club + Resort Chef and the Club + Resort Chef Association can support this mission. While plans are still in the works, it’s important to both of us that club and resort chefs participate in these conversations.
Let’s do this together.