Chef Chris Cosentino Talks Mental Health in the Kitchen

While depression affects millions of people around the world, it's often seen as taboo to discuss openly. In this clip from Chefs Feed, San Francisco chef Chris Cosentino candidly shares how he struggled with depression and anxiety during the opening of his restaurant, Cockscomb. "Once I was able to recognize it, I was able to address it," says Cosentino.

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Read the transcript of this video
I pissed off journalists. I pissed off family members. I pissed off people that I really enjoyed working with who won't ever work with me again. I just thought it was me dealing with being busy and trying to grow and things that were going on in my environment. But it wasn't. It's bigger than just Chris is a ****. I'm not a drug addict, I don't do drugs. I'm not a super heavy Heavy drinker. It was a straight-up chemical imbalance. **** just got pear-shaped in my brain. [MUSIC] It really had no rhyme or reason. It just happened. I could be in the best mood ever and then all of a sudden, boom. Angry and extremely irrational and mean. I felt like I lived in a cloud. I was completely and utterly distracted, And I couldn't understand why, ****, I couldn't stop myself because I was so spiralling. When you are in your own head, you can't get out of the way. I opened a restaurant I have always wanted to in a space I have always wanted and the food that I wanted to do You know I should have been over the top of the moon when this restaurant opened but I was miserable. [BLANK_AUDIO] Stress of opening a restaurant is normal and I'm not the only one that has staff shortage. Not the only one whose dishwasher breaks. I'm not the only one whose delivery doesn't show up. [SOUND] But those became such monumental things in my mind that it actually became completely debilitating for me. I still had to push through. It's what I was taught. You get burned, you wrap it up, you keep going. You get a cut, you super glue it, you keep going. With this, it's something totally new and it's not physical. I can't see it. I was functioning just poorly and not clearly [MUSIC] My business partner Oliver, he recognized that I wasn't the same person anymore. My wife talked about a, kept saying to me, there's something bigger going on. Hearing somebody going to hit the market, say, I heard Chris is bipolar, it hurt. Sometimes you don't know yourself anymore. We don't even need to talk about tv anymore, I'm done with it. I can't even say. I just think at this point all anybody needs to know is, I mean, I basically eradicated the nerves in my stomach. If your stomach's in turmoil, your brain's in turmoil. My body wasn't producing serotonin and melatonin. What it ultimately does is just creates depression. my goal in life is to make people happy. if am not happy then there is something really **** wrong. once I recognized, I was able to address it. Synthetic and natural herbal versions of melatonin and serotonin. for a little while,. I talked to somebody because I wanted to make sure that I wasn't crazy Once I get a balance, I felt like a very different person. Really hurt to realize that that's the way I was behaving and holy **** is that really what I was like. It was really hard for me to talk about it. I called some people just to communicate what's going on. And some people heard me, some people didn't want to hear me. Everybody's out there and they'll be the first person to say, man, I totally **** broke my ankle. You should see these x-rays. And it's gross, I've got pins and plates. But nobody wants to admit that they have anxiety or they have depression. A lot of people, it's embarrassing. It's taboo to discuss and everybody thinks that all of a sudden you're going to go. You know, I'm going to be institutionalized, I'm going to end up on the eighth floor. [MUSIC] You know what, I'm petrified of what people are going to say. I don't want people coming up to my wife saying I'm so sorry your husband's crazy. You know, I mean people have been telling her for years I'm so sorry you married him, he's **** crazy. And I don't want my family to feel Put out. [BLANK_AUDIO] I am who I am, I'm very passionate about what I do. I'm very loud. That's never gonna change, I'm still the same, obnoxious, pain in the ****, but I'm not crazy. Coming out of this I feel like it's more of a rebirth of me inside myself. Being comfortable with myself, and being comfortable in my own skin, I can see the positivity around me. I can really focus on the things that are good. [BLANK_AUDIO]
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Chef Chris Cosentino Talks Mental Health in the Kitchen


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