Monday, October 10, 2011

Do restaurants have a height bias?

Working in a restaurant kitchen is a tough calling. It's hot, laborious, high-paced, often involving big egos and hot tempers. But here's a challenge that was new to me. It's offered here in hopes of stimulating some dialogue on a challenge of restaurant kitchens that's been unaddressed, as far as the writer and I are concerned. It's an unsolicited note that I was e-mailed last week:
First off I have been in and out of the food business for 20 years and the reason I had to get out of it was because the same problem exists where ever I would apply. I have a handicap which more and more cooks and chefs are experiencing and is an ever growing concern for doing what we love. I would have stayed in if there was reasonable compensation but there really isn't any that I know of. I am 6 foot 5 inches tall and the industry is based for people 5 foot 1 inch to 5 foot 11 inches.

We have to work in short spaces and deal with hitting our heads on hoods that don't have a standard height minimum of 7 feet.

I feel this needs to be addressed if you really want the industry to be fair. The longest I ever stayed was when I had my own restaurant and everything was built for my height.

If you need a spokesperson just call, but I feel you might have plenty of others you know who would be happy to start the ball rolling. I mean [everything] from equipment to tables and seating is based on the shorter individual. If you say one size fits all then please say that all recipes should taste like Betty Crocker. I even had to leave the Culinary Institute of America because my lower back couldn't take the low work surfaces and that was a dream I hated to give up on.

I love cooking so much it has never been employment to me. I'd cook for free if I knew the rest of my bills were covered.

Here is a chance to help thousands of us tall lovers of culinary arts to remain in the field we have devoted our selves to. If you have any questions please feel free to contact me.
--Steven Bodley
Warren, Ohio

So I open it up for discussion: Any other chefs or cooks out there who've encountered the same situation? And what do the rest of you think?

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