Chef Philip Speer’s Mise Journal reminds BOH folk to stay hydrated, be kind — and take moments to check in on yourself, your team, and your loved ones.
Over the last decade, there has been a growing trend to perform acts of ‘self-care.’ Even if the term makes your eyes roll, there are benefits to listening in on your needs regarding your mental and physical well-being. In the hospitality industry, the stressful sides of working late nights, long hours, and usually on understaffed teams can take a toll on just about anyone. Having the tools to develop mindful habits is invaluable to your career. With the Mise Journal, Chef Philip Speer of Comedor in Austin, Texas, wants to promote those working in the culinary industry to incorporate mindfulness within their workday one prep list at a time.
“I’ve been a chef for 27 years. I use moleskines, journals, and notebooks all the time. We’re a group and a community of people run by checklists every day, and what better place to put a mental and physical checklist than in your prep list,” Speer shared.
The Mise Journal offers 180 pages to sketch out new dish ideas, create prep lists, jot down personal and professional goals, and even includes a “mental mise en place” checklist. The list contains some predetermined reminders to stay hydrated, choose a healthy meal, speak with kindness, and ends with some blank spaces for the owner to create a few check-ins personal to their own mental and physical health journey.
What began as a way for Chef Speer to incorporate healthy, mindful habits within his own life — soon became a helpful tool within his community. He began printing the journals for staff members, and as more people became interested, Speer found himself sending copies to Chefs and Restaurateurs nationwide. Now, orders are open to the public at the affordable $18 per copy and selling fast.
“I found when I stop to think about what I’m doing, what I’m putting in my body, what I’m grateful for throughout the day, then my day starts a little differently, and I’m more equipped to handle those stressful situations,” Speer said. “I hope that with mental check-ins, and having those prompts repeated through the book — that it becomes a habit and creates new pathways in the brain to incorporate wellness into their day.”
The Mise journal isn’t the only way Chef Speer encourages the hospitality community to lead healthier lifestyles. From heading the Austin chapter of Ben’s Friends, the industry-focused sobriety group, to leading the Comedor Run Club, a run group for industry folk — Speer has created opportunities for hospitality professionals to practice healthy habits without compromising their social lives.
“Our Comedor Run Club is service industry-based, and our tagline is, Shift the Post-Shift. Our goal is to create a new space for people to connect in the restaurant industry that isn’t late-night, or in a bar, that doesn’t lead to unhealthy habits,” Speer explained. “I just want to create more options for people to connect.”
For those in the industry, it can feel isolating to skip out on the traditional post-shift wind down at the nearest bar and not have the time to socialize or network with peers outside of work. Speer’s goal is to change that mindset with the Comedor Run Club. The club is free to join and open to everyone. Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 10 AM the group gets together and walks, jogs, or sprints a 5K — all paces encouraged. If running’s not your thing, they’ve incorporated a Thursday In-Restaurant Service Industry Yoga class, also free and open to anyone interested.
Check out Chef Philip Speer’s website to learn more about his journey, snag a copy of the Mise Journal, learn more about the Comedor Run Club, or find a Ben’s Friends group near you. Taking active approaches to healthy changes within ourselves and our community is a foundational step in making our industry a more sustainable career field in the future.