The Chef sat down with Kathy Carr last week to chat and after a 2 hour interview my phone rang. The Chef had let it slip that I was in the startup phase of a non profit foundation called Chefs Advocacy Foundation.
The Chef's Advocacy Foundation came to be because of the experiences the Chef and I have had over the years in the hospitality industry as well as watching countless friends go through many of the same things that we have gone through. I have seen friends lose restaurants because they couldn't afford to hire an attorney to look over contracts, I have seen chefs sued for their creative property by profiteering partners, I have watched grown men choose to take their own life after being persecuted by people who saw the financial gain a celebrity chef can bring to the table. The Chef and I have even had our own experiences with these kind of issues throughout the past 10 years of our professional careers. Had we been able to hire an attorney or even consult someone our path could have been much simpler. Chef's Advocacy Foundation will allow these kind of consultations to happen for those in the hospitality industry at no charge by way of legal aid through the foundation.
"You can't make good deals with bad people or bad deals with good people."
The industry has other pitfalls as well besides profiteering partners and bad contracts. There are long hours, low pay, and the allure of the glamorous celebrity chef lifestyle. Addictions arise, mental health is put on the back burner, and hospitality fatigue happens. Chef's Advocacy Foundation will provide assistance in all of the above and more for anyone in the hospitality industry. These chefs give back so much to this industry and so many other industries that it's only right to start giving back to them.
While we are still in the beginning phases of startup for this foundation we are always looking for help, ideas, thoughts, and input. If you are interested please reach out to me via email. And if you haven't check out the amazing Crain's Cleveland article on Team Sawyer, please do!