“If you treat your guys badly, they will just leave.”

Alex South

Alex South


Following the release of The Bear, Boiling Point, and the upcoming film The Menu, chef Jackson Boxer explains his experiences working in hospitality as well as his struggle with addiction.

Whilst kitchen dramas such as The Bear and Boiling Point have been met with universal acclaim from viewers, the image they paint of hospitality remains bleak; fuelled by addiction, bullying and a hierarchy harking back to the nineteenth century.

In an interview with The Times newspaper, Jackson explained that whilst these problems and stresses still remain within the industry, the kitchen environment has significantly improved.

Highlighting ongoing challenges such as staff shortages post-Brexit, Jackson told The Times: “We’re a much less violent society generally. If you treat your guys badly, they will just leave.”

After previously working for Margot Henderson at Rochelle Canteen and at Great Queen Street, Jackson opened Brunswick House in 2011, followed by his Notting Hill restaurant, Orasay, in 2019.

Last year, he opened the Below Stone Nest, in Soho, which has since received rave reviews from guests and critics alike.

Despite his success within the industry, the chef makes no secret of his struggles with addiction, as he currently sits four years into recovery.

Speaking candidly to The Times about his addiction, Jackson explained: “Drugs and alcohol are not unique to kitchens and restaurants, but part of the reason people work in restaurants is that sense of possibility and spontaneity that makes life sweet when you’re young.”

“Every chef knows the feeling of deciding to stay for just one drink after work and suddenly it’s 4am and they’ve got to be back in at eight and the terror hits them as they realise what they’re going to have to go through,” he added.

Describing a story that rings true with many other chefs, Jackson said: “These countless little things and the pressures of life [lead to an] asphyxiating sense of dread and pressure. I worry so much about everything that by a certain point of the day it becomes overwhelming.”

He added: “I never felt I was self-medicating at the time, but I realise now that I could switch off the panicking part of my brain with a sip of a dry martini.”

Jackson owes his recovery to the 12-step programmes and invites anyone struggling to contact via social media.

Explaining what helped him during his recovery, he told The Times: “I owed it to my children, my wife, my parents, my brother — the people who had continued to love and support me, even when I couldn’t love or support myself.”

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Alex South

Alex South

Editor 28th October 2022

“If you treat your guys badly, they will just leave.”