A commercial kitchen can be a hazardous environment with sharp knives, heat, chemicals and various body stressing risks.

Scott shows us around his kitchen and discusses the benefits of creating and maintaining a safe and healthy workplace. Workers are more likely to share their knowledge and do a good job when they are nurtured and treated with respect.

Who is this for?

This video is primarily intended for food services workers and managers, and anyone interested in the accommodation and food services industry.

About the presenter

Scott Drinkwater is the executive chef at Dee Why RSL Club, NSW.

This video was produced by Safe Work Australia and is one of a series that focuses on work health and safety in specific industries.

Additional resources


A day in the life of a chef

Scott Drinkwater, Executive chef

We have five kitchens here, four restaurants. About 35 to 40 kitchen staff. We don't have a large turnover, people seem to like it here. We have a great belief in work/life balance. Work, health, and safety in our kitchens is critical. We have allocated in each of our kitchens a person that looks after our first aid kits. They're monitored every week. Reports are done. Working in a busy kitchen, you've got sharp knives. You've got heat. You've got chemicals. You've got cross contamination of product. We have to have an understanding of that to do our jobs properly and keep the public safe as well.

We have a full incident reporting system here. There's an assessment done as to why something happens. For example, if the chef that was on the grill got chemical in his eye, then we need to look that he had the gloves on, he had the eye goggles on, then we need to start retraining that young chief into the correct way to clean the grill. We're very strong on work relationships with each other and helping each other. Walking into an environment where you feel safe, it's clean, it's tidy, systems are in place, you feel great. You feel good. You want to come to work. You want to expand, you want to give your knowledge, you want to give your all. Walking into a place that doesn't have any of those, it's belittling, you feel no motivation. You don't want to be there. You feel as though if you say something, your voice won't be heard. It's really important that we nurture the people that work for us and treat them with the respect that they deserve to be able to do their properly, safely, get home and then come back again.

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