It took me years to understand what was OK in the work environment and what wasn’t. I didn’t know anyone who was a chef, I had zero connections, I didn’t have any access to those seemingly secret boujie chef jobs for the elite.
I was ready to give up when I landed on my feet at St John in Smithfield—an unknown realm of a culture of kindness. I always wish I had never left. But I did and fell into the same routine of hating my days, forcing energy and persisting. I found some absolute gems along the way and made connections where I could, started private cheffing or working in other kitchens on my days off. This is where I learnt first hand about the places that were good and the ones that weren’t.
Countertalk’s purpose and story, why we do what we do
During Countertalk’s first year I ran food based events to bring people together and promote education and learning. They were a lot of fun and enabled me to build a network of talented, inspiring individuals who were equally as invested in promoting healthy work environments.
I found myself spending a lot of time personally recommending people to jobs with companies that I knew and trusted. And, employers with staff that I knew were reliable and trustworthy. It was really important to me that I had personally vetted all of the places I was recommending. Some of those places are still staffed by people I recommended which is great, and the feedback has been lovely.
Why Countertalk careers exists
I wanted to formalise this process and turn it into a platform where I could vet the places who wanted to advertise, in the hope that we can make good opportunities accessible to all. We can leave out those places that make us miserable and squeeze every ounce of energy out of us—and strive for an equal and level playing field for everyone who wishes to pursue their dreams of working in hospitality, no matter their connections or background.
Following the careers website launch in 2019, I gave a talk to 8-10 year olds in Forest Gate about the possibility of working in the hospitality sector. I spoke about all of the possible avenues they can go down in food. It actually made me feel positive and hopeful to know that by the time they reach 18, the working in conditions in the food world would have come a long long way.
Fast forward to Jan 2021 and a lot has changed! In May 2020 I decided to take the careers site down, from a financial point of view it was too much of a risk in what had become an uncertain future for the hospitality industry. Instead I worked to create a freelance list for anyone looking for work, connecting them to businesses that needed staff quickly for free. I also advertised on an ad hoc basis for companies on the Countertalk IG page. Throughout the year I realised that there was a big gap with Countertalk being ‘down.’ So in October I began the work to bring it back and this time with a team! I’m lucky enough to know some incredibly talented people in the food world who I believe, together, will help to push Countertalk even further.
At the heart of the Hospitality Industry
Countertalk exists to improve working conditions in the hospitality industry. We want to empower people, business owners and employees to be the best they can be and to go into work happy.
There’s now a few of us in this glorious team, and you know what? We’ve all been there and done it. We know exactly how you feel and what it’s like to work in the hospitality industry.
So how are we taking actions to make this happen?
- The website is back allowing vetted employers to create profiles and post adverts
- Employees can register, create their own one time profile and apply for roles instantly
- We focus on quality roles over a high quantity
- We want to equip you with the knowledge to grow and get better. We will do this by running talks, writing articles and channelling as much helpful information that we can your way
- Countertalk is not just a jobs site, we care about staff retention and want to give you the tools that you need to work happily together with your employer/employee
- At Countertalk, we are here to listen and act on feedback from our valuable community
- One of the great things about the Countertalk team is that we have been there done it and we are still doing it! So the lens that we are looking through is one that you can count on.
- We are here to build a community of people that want to work towards a healthier happier work environment.
- Our future events are focused on providing value in an accessible way – keep an eye out for them, they are not to be missed
Stick with us and lets grow together
The Countertalk Team