Bonus Interview: Mark Normoyle
Mark is currently a Executive chef consultant in Australia, Asia and beyond.
Prior to his current role Mark was appointed as Executive Chef at the RACV City Club Melbourne. He led a large team of 80 chefs with 6 Food and beverage outlets, multiple event and function rooms.
Mark’s career highlights to date have been hosting food and culture tours to Japan, India, Vietnam Cambodia and Sri Lanka. Cooking at Guest chef charity events in Australia and abroad and working alongside the original Iron Chefs of Japan.
Mark, you have been at the forefront of culinary trends. You also speak about Motivation and The Life of an Executive Chef. What was your life like in that role?
Being a chef of any level can be very rewarding, on reflection my life as a Executive Chef has been a incredible journey. Travelling Australia and the world, meeting and working with some amazing passionate people. Training and seeing my team grow is something that still gives me great pleasure. For me, I like to see anyone who is keen to improve their skills given every opportunity to make it to the next level. That includes, kitchen hands, front of house staff, food suppliers they are all a important part of the team.
I really admire your courage for opening up and sharing your experiences. It is hearing other people’s stories that help others recognise they may also have a problem with mental health. Its important to speak openly about this subject.
Why do chefs wear their armour through their apron?
The old school cliché was “Tough it up” I have seen chefs on all levels work very hard and often neglect their physical and mental health and also their family and social life in pursuit of their career.
By sharing my experience and tough times to my peers, hopefully it may assist someone to take the first step into recovery or assist to look for sign that a colleague friend or family is not OK.
Working hard is a great asset, and kitchen will always require hard work with relentless time pressure, but at the end of the day its only food!
What was your motivation about speaking about this? Why did you remain silent for so long?
My motivation for speaking out was to give back to the Industry that has given me a great career. Being silent and only confiding in a small number close contacts worked for me, I am at the stage now where I look on all my past life experiences good or bad as positive. I remained silent for many years as I did not understand that struggling with mental health was actually real and saw it as just a way of life that I felt unhappy. What inspired me to seek help was hearing Wayne Schwass a prominent AFL footballer talk about his struggles with mental health during his career as a successful footballer. On hearing him speak I realised that I felt the same and was still able to function on a high level but struggling on the inside day by day. His talk inspired me to talk to my GP.
How have you grown from this experience and what have you learnt from it?
I have grown matured as a person, and learnt to just take time out to relax and enjoy the small things in life. I had a constant fear of failure going through stages of my career, I no longer have this fear and realise that my best is good enough in any situation.
What are the three most important things a chef must do every day?
- Enjoy every day, its piece of your life
- Do the best you can in every situation
- Create a positive team culture
I want to thank you for offering me the opportunity to interview you Mark.