#wearenot9to5 is a series of stories about mental health & addiction from people in the food & beverage industry to fight the stigma & shame.
I’m Chef Trevor Ross. I founded The Grass Roots of Food, a personal chef service that adapts global cuisines into nutritious, yet delicious menus. As a strong advocate of scratch cooking and holistic living, my creative approach focuses on real, wholesome ingredients that encourage the entire body to thrive. Health has gained a spotlight in all my culinary efforts, including mental health.
Life within restaurants is not to be taken lightly. Being a chef is hard work and extremely stressful no matter who you are. It’s especially difficult when challenged by a mental blockage. As with every chef, my advancement was earned through hard work but when deprived of any personal life, a cloud of depression loomed over as restaurant pressures mounted. However, a pivotal turning point came when I finally faced the deepest secret that overwhelmed my every effort as a novice cook. Only through taking a break from restaurants kitchens was I able to find balance and embrace my homosexuality. Today, 15 years into my self-development journey, I’ve cultivated a strong and healthy life.
But if I could jump in Doc Brown’s DeLorean from “Back to the Future” and go back in time I’d have some critical advice for myself:
“Trevor, society is plagued by stigma and only when you let go of the negative perspective forced upon your mind will you truly thrive. Open your eyes and extend the scope to realize you are perfectly normal. There is absolutely nothing wrong with you. Very soon your deepest secret will become your greatest asset when you get comfortable in your own skin.”
Trying to navigate the many pitfalls in today’s foodservice sector can be difficult as there’s no single road to fulfillment. Becoming a personal chef radically changed my perception of what ‘chef-life’ looks like. A new school of thought for the chef lifestyle is growing and it’s one I embrace. It’s centred around cultivating a fresh focus on nourishing food, modern fitness, and work-life balance. Countless dietary advancements and lifestyle practices have proven effective in improving mental health, wellness, and longevity. It’s my aim to join the driving force to demystify the underlying industry struggle with mental illness.