Communal Table Podcast: Steve Palmer on Staying Sober in a Time of Crisis

Steve Palmer talks about resources for maintaining sobriety in a crisis and the challenges of isolation.

Chefs and restaurant workers take great care of everyone else, but often they need a little help themselves. Each week, Food & Wine senior editor Kat Kinsman talks with hospitality pros about they manage their business, brain, and body for the long haul. Is there a topic you'd like to know more about or a guest you'd love to hear from? Tell us at or tweet to Kat @kittenwithawhip, and subscribe to the weekly Food & Wine Pro newsletter. Subscribe to the new Communal Table YouTube page and never miss an episode. Catch up on previous episodes here.

Episode 60: Steve Palmer Talks About Resources for Maintaining Sobriety in a Crisis

When Steve Palmer and Mickey Baskt started Ben's Friends, they had no idea that it would be the force that it is today. What began as an industry-specific recovery meeting in Charleston, SC has since transformed into a national lifeline for chefs, servers, bartenders, and other hospitality workers trying to achieve and maintain sobriety in an industry that often celebrates and enables excess and masochism. Though the meetings until now have been held weekly and face-to-face in the cities that host chapters, they're now available via Zoom on a local level, and—for the first time—nationally. Palmer spoke with Food & Wine senior editor Kat Kinsman about the particular struggles that restaurant workers are facing in isolation, and why human connection is vital for sobriety and mental health.

Note: Because the podcast had to be recorded in a less than ideal setup, the sound quality may not be as crisp as usual. We're all doing our best.

Links and Resources

Read Steve's book: Say Grace

Support the cause:

Previously: Steve Palmer talks about getting and staying sober, and the mission that fuels him.

Mental Health and Recovery Resources

Ben's Friends

Chefs With Issues

Crisis Text Line: Text #741741 any time for quick and free crisis counseling.

Headspace Meditation App

Calm Meditation App

Insight Timer App

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Previous episode: Ming Tsai talks about the fears restaurant workers face and actions to take in the time of a pandemic.

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