HOUSTON - The tragic death of beloved chef, author, and TV personality Anthony Bourdain has been felt around the world. As people look for ways to prevent such tragedies in the future, James Beard Award-winning chef Chris Shepherd is stepping in to help.
Shepherd's foundation, Southern Smoke, provides help to those working in the service industry who are affected by all sorts of crisis from personal injuries to natural disasters. Shepherd now wants those in the industry to know that includes mental health.
He knows that hospitality jobs can be stressful and the long hours can be difficult. Many working in restaurants don't have health insurance and mental health services are often seen as a luxury workers can't afford.
"It's long hours. It's tough days. It's mentally tasking. It's physically tasking," he told Fox 26 Houston. "There's so many things, there's ups and downs. It's an emotional roller coaster every day."
That's why Southern Smoke offers easy access to mental healthcare for workers. The application process is free and online. Approvals are given quickly and anonymously.
An industry can be more than just a collection of jobs and workers, it can also be a community. Shepherd wants the members of his community to know that, through his foundation, he's got their backs.