In this discussion, leaders from the food, beverage and hospitality space discuss initiatives and opportunities for growth and transformation, particularly how the industry is reimagining safer and braver workplaces. Topics will include how restaurants are addressing mental health, suicide, bereavement support, sexual harrassment, and poverty among staff. These initiatives not only impact workers, but also all of us who eat out and order in. Individuals or families spend approximately 40% of their food budgets on restaurants. Speakers include noted chefs and restaurateurs Erin Boyle, Jen Hidinger-Kendrick, and Bobbin Mulvaney. Author, food writer, and dining critic Kate Washington moderates.
This program is part of the February 2023 Reimagine Series “Food as Medicine: From Adversity to Abundance”, in which participants explore how both food and the hospitality industry transform loss into new pathways for growth and health.
I am Erin Boyle, CHOW’s Executive Director, friend, sister, wife, daughter, duck and dog momma, potter, reader, crafter, walker, nanny and chef. I trained to be a chef at the Culinary Institute of America and have worked in San Francisco, Washington DC, New York and Denver. After almost two decades working in the industry, I transitioned to teaching and love it.
I have watched my staff, family, and friends in hospitality struggle with mental health and substance abuse. I, like many, struggle with depression, anxiety, and PTSD. In 2013, I found myself sick of the life I felt stuck in and found a therapist. She helped me to name the things I struggled with (depression and anxiety) and find coping strategies that work for me. In 2019, I decided to dedicate my energy toward improving access to mental health and wellness resources for all. CHOW’s mission is to support wellness within the hospitality industry and to improve the lives of our community through shared stories, skills, and resources. https://chowco.org/
Jen serves as Senior Director of Community Engagement at Giving Kitchen. She co-founded the organization with her late husband Ryan Hidinger to provide emergency assistance to food service workers through financial support and a network of community resources. As spokesperson for GK, Jen has received the Community Hero Award from the Atlanta Braves and Fox Sports South, and has been featured on the covers of Entrepreneur Magazine and Atlanta Magazine, with a spotlight as one of "Atlanta's 60 Voices on the City's Past, Present and Future."
As co-founder of the acclaimed Staplehouse Restaurant, Jen was a key member of the team that earned Bon Appétit magazine's Best New Restaurant in America in 2016 and a nomination as Best New Restaurant by the James Beard Foundation. She joined the staff of GK full-time in 2019, and one of her proudest moments was sharing the stage with GK colleagues in receiving the James Beard Foundation's 2019 Humanitarian of the Year award on behalf of Giving Kitchen.
She lives in Atlanta, GA with her husband John Wayne Kendrick, their son Blue, and three dogs Vida, Goonie, and Zooey. Her passions include travel, dogs (clearly), food and beverage (even more clearly), and the art of tidying (not always so clearly!) https://thegivingkitchen.org/
Bobbin is the owner/partner of Mulvaney’s B&L, a Michelin-rated farm to fork restaurant to which she brings over 45 years of hospitality experience, and co-founder of I Got Your Back (IGYB). Grief sparked the creation of IGYB after a sudden rash of suicides and overdoses in the restaurant industry hit Sacramento hard in late 2018 and early 2019. IGYB is converting grief and sadness into courage and optimism and we hope to see it spread from restaurant to restaurant, city to city and industry to industry. After being raised in a small Central Valley farming community Bobbin moved to Sacramento where she found the city ready to welcome her vision of elegant, comforting hospitality, focusing on the local and seasonal bounty our region provides. Her definition of local runs from Redding to Bakersfield and Tahoe to the Pacific, really all of California. She loves nothing more than to celebrate the bounty of its historic agricultural regions, the farmers, ranchers, chefs and communities who make it possible. She consistently shares that love and knowledge with those yet to be exposed to our agricultural riches, from students to hospitality workers to visitors from both near and far. Bobbin is also an active community leader outside the restaurant, - focusing on youth and underserved communities especially in the education and the non-profit sectors as a board member, teacher and mentor. Her lifelong attention to mindfulness and living with intention have been foundational to her ability to lift her community as well as provide resilience in her personal well-being. https://igotyourback.info/
Kate Washington (Moderator)
Kate Washington is the author of Already Toast: Caregiving and Burnout in America (Beacon Press, 2021) and a frequent speaker on the systemic challenges facing family caregivers. She writes in a variety of genres, including food writing, criticism, creative nonfiction, memoir, and opinion, and she has been published in The New York Times, TIME, Eater, Catapult, and many other publications. From 2017-2021, she was the dining critic for The Sacramento Bee and is a former associate food editor at Sunset Magazine. She served as local editor for the Zagat Survey’s guide to Sacramento restaurants and is a member of Les Dames d’Escoffier, a philanthropic organization of women leaders in the food and hospitality sector. She holds a Ph.D. in Victorian literature from Stanford University and lives in Sacramento. Connect with her at kawashington.com or on Twitter @washingtonkate