The Disappearing Chef

Edible Reno-Tahoe | Feature Story •

How does a restaurant owner keep creativity thriving while continuing to grow and maintain stability at the same time? The answer is an innovative and reliable chef. Unfortunately, the culinary world, here in Reno-Tahoe and around the country, is facing what some have called a chef crisis.

Skills gap

Finding and keeping qualified workers to fill back-of-the-house positions is difficult, and this may be attributed to a number of causes.

In many cases, chefs are paid little, work long hours, and face a lack of respect, leading to high rates of substance abuse and suicide. A survey conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration in 2015 indicated that the food service and hospitality industry had the highest rates of illicit drug use and substance abuse disorders, and it had the third-highest rate of heavy alcohol use of all industries.

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