R.I.P Carl Ryder

in loving memory of

In loving memory of Carl Ryder


Everyone one thinks chefing is a glamours job, and sometimes it can be sometimes.

But to every, up there is a down and that down is mental health in the kitchen. Really! Yes really!

Why as chefs are we so committed to our jobs? Why if the chef says , so and so as not turned up and we are in the shit, can you stay?, just as your about to leave for a date with you girlfriend, you haven’t seen in weeks let alone, touched her. Why is it we just can not say know? Why was it always easier to let the girl, family, friend, child down, but never the kitchen?

Here’s why,

The kitchen is the heart of any restaurant, bar, hotel, pub that’s where the energy is, that’s where the establishments get most of its praise from the food.

It takes a certain kind of person to be a chef ( real chef, not offence to terry with is 1000 keys hanging from is whites. Not you) am talking about the ones who to get through service may have to take a line or have a pint, if they haven’t already had one in there split. I am talking about the chefs that live sleep and breath the place the life. When your off (the times you get off, holidays) your reading cookbooks, cooking gourmet meals at home.

Chefs are seriously fucked up, as chefs if we aren’t talking about knives, restaurant to eat, food,  we’re talking about drinking sex and drugs, that’s the way it is or was!

I remember one time, I had been burning a crème Brulee and I left the lighter on the side didn’t notices and the lighter blow up in my face, it fucking killed and all the chef said was get a bag of frozen peas and put it on your face ( I shit you not,) you’ll be fine, are you ready for services, do we have enough desserts for tonight? Ice-creams?

Service in this one kitchen I worked, was fucking horrendous, the place was that fucking busy we had maybe 6-8 prep chefs, that we had to take off pot wash to help because we could make the stuff quick enough. The pastry was never busy till around 8.30 – 9 pm so I had to also jump on pasta sides and help out there or on starters to help. It was Christmas every fucking day, I would stay easy 500-600 covers a day in a kitchen equipped to cover 300? maybe, I could be wrong my memory isn’t what it was. In our restaurant, it was Saturday night every FUCKING night.

Going back to the energy in the kitchen, it could be a real, extremely busy service and I would be able to walk the line, without even telling anyone I was there and know instinctively which way they would turn with there hot pans. That was our sex, that’s energy was or is what turns us on. Who gets off on being in the shit ( having too many covers ( people) come in at once) chefs do!

Plating for chefs is like art, Chefs take pride in making that plate look good, chefs will all stand around and admire that plate like its a fucking piece of art. Patting each other on the back, telling each other how mint it is and looks.

Just talking about it sends my triggers through the roof and I start instinctively start thinking about what needs preparing and will I have enough stuff for services.

All though you love the energy of service you’re always glad that’s it over and the ovens, stoves turned off

The downside to that kind of pressure and commitment is you start early and you finish late, so when you drink, because your still high off the service, you drink to get drunk or you party till your tired. You get home at 3-4am, after doing an 11-hour split, and everyone in your life is in bed. You lose relationships and connection to your family and friends who are not in the industry and because you couldn’t stay know to the chef and take the night of that you booked months ago for a night with the girlfriend, wife, child or friend. It’s at that point that you think your happy and apart of this amazing team, because by this point all you have is this and a habit, a lack of love for yourself because you couldn’t when you should have said NO!

Yeah and am not saying its the employers fault that chefs don’t go home after shifts, that’s not your fault, but this is your fault the presser of not wanting to say know and the not having enough time off to form a “ normal” social life doing “ normal “ things with friends and family, not worrying that you will get the call to come in to work because some other fucker, was to fucked to come in because they also haven’t had a day off in 10 days.

And chefs it’s not fucking hardcore, its fucking stupid. The only person happy is your employer, who is spending time with there family and having great sex with there wife and just generally being happy with life. While your fucking miserable lonely and fucked.

Protect your own mental health, relationship and stay, sorry chef I cant, because you know what, they will cope. They always do and they always will. Go out have fun with your family and save your relationship and have great sex with your girlfriend wife, boyfriend, whoever.

10,20 even 30 years down the line, what do chefs that didn’t make it have?

Its all fun and games till a chef, be their time of addiction

My point is, start saying no chef, I need to leave, it’s not your job to find cover it’s his or the companies to employ more staff or even treat the ones they have better.

Because here’s what happens when you don’t say no, you begin to hate yourself and drinking more to numb the pain, of the tiredness and emptiness you feel that you have nothing in your life.

Employers, it’s your duty to empower your staff to take care of himself and their mental health, they are not just chefs on a line they are people someone else s child, you have a duty of care to protect the staff you have. If you wouldn’t want anyone to treat your child like that why would you treat someone else Is?


You were a first class cunt, but you were also a very caring loving friend and I am sorry you had to go like that… what I will remember the time I came out the fridge and you could see my nipples and you said are you pleased to see me… ha and I asked what’s the procedure on sexual harassment in this establishment and you and John both said it’s your job and we pissed ourselves laughing.

The time you worked near my shop and you would come in the morning for your “free” bacon sandwich, then I would drop you and them pick you up and take you back to Aaron’s in Manchester….

Am ready sorry, you could cope with life, and you were hurt that much. R.I.P

Carl, you were one of the best chefs I have known take care and I hope you’re happy now you’re with your dad.

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