food for thought charity event for beyondblue

SYD Dinner: Mon 14 Nov         MELB Dinner: Mon 21 Nov
7 chefs, 7 courses                    7 chefs, 7 courses
Tickets $155 pp                                                              Tickets $155 pp
SOLD OUT                                                                                BOOK NOW

details of the chefs cooking below this article

Over 3 million Australian’s suffer from the effects of anxiety or depression and is extremely prevalent across all sectors of the hospitality industry. Long, anti-social hours, easy access to drugs and alcohol; highly pressurised work environments coupled with the stigma attached to talking about your mental health concerns are all contributing factors to this worrying statistic. 

‘Mental health is a big, unspoken problem in the hospitality industry. The mentality of kitchens is that if you are not dying then you are not sick, or if you have not broken a leg then you can come to work. Kitchens don’t recognise anyone with mental health issues and those with mental health issues are perceived to be weak and soft because they are not able to “push on”. It’s something that the industry needs to recognise and address collectively,’ Thi Le chef/owner of Anchovy restaurant in Richmond, Melbourne.

A recent article, We Need to Talk About Mental Health in the Kitchen by Tim McKirdy on Vice Magazine’s Munchies website indicates that it’s chefs who are the most affected in the industry, after the death of ‘the best chef in the world’, Benoit Violier, back in February 2016 again highlighted the issue. This week prominent American chef Daniel Patterson wrote an open letter Speaking Out, to MAD, about his struggle over with depression over the years and his recent diagnosis. He concludes his letter by saying ‘And what’s really going to happen if I say publicly that I had some screwy brain chemistry and I took care of it? Will people stop coming to my restaurants?’ Socially, speaking about mental health and your own mental health has never been easy, especially in an environment where you are expected to ‘handle’ the tough working conditions, because this is what you signed up for when choosing the hospo life.

In Australia only 35% of people affected seek help from beyondblue, an Australian organisation that was established in 2000focusing on raising awareness of depression and reducing the associated stigma. Food for Thought founder and young chef Mal Meiers says For me, I know how important it is that we break down the stigma surrounding mental health, many people suffer often in silence or isolation, with the help of some great young chefs Food for Thought is about raising awareness, coming together and taking on this stigma to show there is help’.

Breaking down barriers and giving people in the industry a place to share their thoughts and feelings has come in the form of ‘Chefs with Issues‘ an online forum launched in 2015 by Kat Kinsman editor at large of Tasting Table in America. While based out of the States, the website gives not just to chefs but to all of those involved in the service industry the opportunity to write about their own feelings; read about other people’s experiences while offering resources and support to those who need it.

It was Mal’s own struggle with anxiety and depression and the help he received from beyondblue, that enabled him to start a conversation about his experiences which has been the driving force behind Food for Thought ‘my hope is to help broaden the awareness of the support that is available to not only my peers but to the wider community for all those who suffer in silence’. 

Reaching out to his close friends (& like minded chefs) they came together to develop Food for Thought, a collaborative dinner aimed at raising awareness and funds for and in support of beyondblue. The inaugural dinner with the support of Beer DeLuxe was held at Fed Square in 2014.

Jacob Furst executive chef of Beer DeLuxe said of his involvement & support of Food for Thought, ‘I’ve witnessed mental health first hand in the work place and at home. I believe the work beyondblue do to support people with depression is outstanding, but they excel in equipping everyone with the knowledge and skills to protect their own mental health. Like with any illness, prevention is better than a cure. I can’t think of a better way than to show support than using our skills to create this experience for the very generous guests who attend’. 

In 2016, Mal and his fellow collaborators hope to expand awareness from the initial Melbourne audience by introducing the event into Sydney with a second dinner, one in each city. Headed up by Mal, the chefs will be collaborating on a diverse tasting menu where they will each create a dish to showcase their individual character & creative style whilst working together as a collective. Each dinner will be a 7 course tasting menu with matched beverages by sommelier Kate Christensen, ‘Being involved with such a valuable event like Food for Thought enables you to connect to a cause bigger than yourself. It provides an opportunity to give back; not only time and skills but to use our collective passion for our industry to partake in something that has the potential to invoke real change in the lives of those who suffers most’. 

beyondblue Food for Thought is supported by some of Australia’s leading producers including Flinders Island Lamb, Cape Grim Beef, Ora King Salmon along with Beer Deluxe.

Tickets are available from Lime & Tonic – Sydney & Melbourne and are $150 for a 7 course degustation & matched beverages. All proceeds will be donated directly to beyondblue. 

Melbourne beyondblue Food for Thought Dinner

21 November 2016 19:00 Beer DeLuxe Fed-Square featuring;

Mal Meiers             (Founder/Food + Wine pop up/Electrolux Australian Young Chef National Finalist)

Jake Furst              (Beer DeLuxe)

Peter Gunn            (IDES/San Pellegrino Asia Pacific Young Chef 2015)

Matt Boyle             (Attica)

Stevie Nairn          (ESP – Estelle Scott Pickett)

Thi Lee                    (Anchovy)

Florian Ribul        (HOST)


Sydney  beyondblue Food for Thought Dinner SOLD OUT

14 November 2016 19:00 Beer DeLuxe King St Wharf featuring;

Mal Meiers         (Founder/Food + Wine pop up/Electrolux Australian Young Chef National Finalist)

Aaron Ward       (Sixpenny/Electrolux Australian Young Chef 2016)

Troy Crisante    (Bennelong/Electrolux Australian Young Chef Runner-up 2016)

Jake Furst          (Beer DeLuxe)

Rhys Connell     (Sepia)

Tae Kyu Lee       (Ex- Quay)

Paul Farag         (Monopole)

Food for Thought Dinners Sydney & Melbourne
Food for Thought Dinners Sydney & Melbourne

About beyondblue

Established in October 2000, beyondblue initially focused on raising awareness of depression and reducing the associated stigma. As our knowledge and impact on people’s lives broadened, through research and community engagement, we added the key issue of anxiety conditions in 2011 and, more recently, suicide prevention to our core purpose.

Despite depression being the leading cause of disability worldwide and predicted to be the leading cause of burden of disease by 2030, ahead of heart disease, few countries had attempted a national response to depression. Other national programs that tried to get the wider community to change their attitudes to mental health were met with limited success.

Head to to find out more about the organisation and for ways you can help/support.

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