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'A Taste for Life' opens eyes to mental health in Louisville's food service industry

Substance abuse, depression and anxiety are common in the food service industry; this program is trying the change that.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — When it comes to the food service industry, mental health is a big component and here in Louisville local chefs are coming together to bring you a taste for life.

More than 20 local chefs will share their passion for food service while also having those much needed conversations, in honor of Anthony Bourdain who took his own life in 2018.

"A Taste for Life" will be Sunday, October 2nd from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. This will be the second time Louisville has hosted this event, however, they had a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The event helps those working in the service industry who suffer from depression, anxiety and the challenging day to day dealings of working in the industry.

"A Taste for Life" will shut down Spratt Street in Germantown and feature chefs' samplings of signature dishes, live music and guest speakers. Tickets can be purchased online.

"We go the extra mile because we believe you can taste it," Vernon Lanes Chef Zach Henderson said.

Henderson said this is his first time taking part in the event and that he is honored to be helping shed light on the need for creating a safe space for service industry workers to talk about mental health.

"It's nice that we’re celebrating that we’re having these difficult conversations and bringing these issues to the forefront," he said.

Nancy Brooks, National Alliance on Mental Illness Louisville education program administrator, says that over the years, the service industry has been ravaged by substance abuse issues, depression and anxiety.

"Statistics are rising," Brooks said. "I really want to make the point that people should not think of stigma or the thought of mental health being the other, but instead look into themselves and say 'where is it that I can find support'."

NAMI Louisville and the Pete Foundation will be receiving a part of the proceeds to continue in offering support to programs that help those in the community and those in the work place.

"Lets be celebrating that and celebrating these folks who are on the back lines of these businesses, staying up late, coming in early and working hard hours on their feet," Henderson said. "This is an opportunity for us not only to focus on mental health but to celebrate these chefs."

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