Chefs’ Hands Photography Exhibition

Last year, Time to Change joined the Chefs, Andrew Clarke and Doug Sanham to help them establish Pilot Light.

After Andrew posted about his breakdown on Instagram and was interviewed by Jay Rayner for the Guardian he received so many messages of support from fellow Chefs and hospitality workers who had experienced the same thing he decided to start Pilot Light, a campaign they founded specifically to address mental health in professional kitchens and the hospitality sector.

On the 12th November, at Carousel on Baker Street, Pilot Light are holding an exhibition of photographs of famous Chef’s hands and an auction of events to raise money to allow Pilot Light and Time to Change to continue to target the hospitality sector and make mental health something it’s OK to talk about.

Joakim Blackstrom has taken photos of 50 chefs’ hands for the exhibition including photos of Pierre Koffman, Tom Aitken, Nuno Mendes, Andrew, Neil Rankin, Claude Bosi, Tom Kerridge and many others.

The exhibition looks to shine a light on how beautiful, scarred, vulnerable and strong these chefs’ hands are. Each image helps to open up the conversation around the strain on mental health in the restaurant world and will be accompanied by a quote from the chef who’s pictured, completing the sentence that sparked the initial idea for the project: “If these hands could speak, the stories they would tell…”.

These prints will be available for sale and donations made to Pilot Light.

Joakim said of the exhibition: “Most chefs go through a rocky road before achieving success. And even then, a professional kitchen is an extremely tough environment, both physically and mentally; and while famous chefs’ faces may appear on magazine covers, their hands often reveal a less glamorous story. I have been working on a series of photographs in which I take a close look at the hands of chefs, and shine a light on how real, beautiful, scarred, vulnerable and strong they are. Each image will hopefully reveal a part of their personality, and engage visually in the conversation around the strain on mental health in the restaurant world.”

The event will take place at Carousel in London’s Marylebone on 12th November at 7pm. Tickets can be purchased by visiting

    Our stories

  • Lizzey Gregory

    We have to unlearn habits that were taught to us within a chaotic/traumatic upbringing! Read More

  • James Douglas

    Before my entire world began to collapse around me, I thought I had everything under control.  I thought I had it all together and from the outside, to those looking in, I did. Read More

  • Darryl Quested

    I always find it difficult to explain my anxiety and depression to people, it all began with me at a young age, being diagnosed with GAD and depression at the age of 13 (the year my mother was first diagnosed with cancer) Read More

  • James Hudson

    I have battled mental health issues since around my 16th birthday. I had just finished school and all the stresses of exams and bullying through school to losing my father suddenly overnight. Read More

  • Andrew Clarke

    Andrew’s story began with a post to Instagram Little did he know at the time that his story would inspire hundreds of people feeling very similarly and lead to a news article in the Guardian and the foundation of Pilot Light. Read More

  • Doug Sanham

    I had a head chef, who, after I first tried to kill myself really stepped up to help me. He was really supportive. Really drove me. But still I could not speak. I just always said I’m okay. And there are times where I still say ‘I’m okay’... Read More

  • Ben Davy

    For me it was culmination of 5 or 6 years of a particularly hard slog. Taking on more, stretching myself too thinly, never learning to say 'no'. Read More

  • Joe Laker

    I always considered myself someone who could tackle any problem life presented to me. Read More

We cannot do this alone! Together, we can create a community of like-minded professionals united by a common cause: to shine a light on these issues and act as a beacon of support to those affected by them.

Contact us at to continue this conversation.