This gathering of the culinary A-list will serve up real talk about work-life balance and the challenges of opening a restaurant.

Jeremy Fox
Credit: Rick Poon

Daniel Patterson and Jeremy Fox are two of the country’s most talented and respected chefs. They’re also two chefs who’ve publicly discussed their struggles with mental illness. And in 2019, when so much about being a famous chef is glamorized, Patterson and Fox will keep reminding their colleagues that it’s OK to talk about depression and how the food industry can destroy work-life balance. Many chefs, of course, spend so much of their time tending to the needs of their guests that they often forget about self-care.

At the L.A. Chef Conference in Santa Monica on Monday, May 20, you can listen to Patterson, Fox, Richard Blais, and Nyesha Arrington discuss these issues at a panel titled “Boiling Point: An honest discussion of mental health, wellness, and maintaining balance in the restaurant industry.” In an era when a lot of chef culture is about hype, social media, and celebrating luxury, this conference should offer many servings of real talk.

For example, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Will Guidara, Dave Beran, and Aitor Zabala will be on a panel called “Opening in L.A.: Expectations Vs. Reality.” These are four fine-dining luminaries who will likely have some interesting thoughts on the Michelin Guide returning to L.A., but we’re just as eager to hear them discuss how they’ve coped in a city that cares less about fine dining than many other places.

There will also be panels about sustainability, how to take the leap from being a chef to a successful restaurateur, and the importance of making an impact in the L.A. community and beyond. All of these panels are loaded with A-list talent: The panel about making an impact includes L.A.’s latest James Beard Award winner, Michael Cimarusti, alongside four-time Beard winner Suzanne Goin and three-time Beard winner Sherry Yard.

It’s all part of a stacked day with nine panels, eight cooking demos (featuring chefs like Josiah Citrin, Ricardo Zarate, and Ashley Abodeely and Rose Lawrence), a four-session workshop about how to open a restaurant, and a lunch that includes food from Tim Hollingsworth’s C.J. Boyd’s Fried Chicken and Christina Tosi’s Milk Bar. Tickets for the conference, produced by Brad Metzger Restaurant Solutions, are $110.