Demons, We've All Got 'Em

Your responses to Chef Philip Speer.

October 20, 2015 ● 3 min read

"I've done the inpatient rehab, outpatient rehab, numerous classes, hundreds of AA meetings," Philip Speer says.

He's 12 months sober, has served his jail time, and is currently facing down a smattering of probationary periods. Community service, alcohol monitoring, license suspension, the works. More importantly? He's been able to prioritize his time with his two daughters, and rediscover a passion for food previously dulled by chaos and bad decisions. He's currently working as a consulting chef with many restaurants both nationally and locally, opportunities that allow him the chance to learn from his peers.

Almost immediately after we released an intimate look into Speer's struggles of the past year, responses came pouring in. They were overwhelmingly positive, supportive of his recovery, and—in exactly the way Speer had hoped sharing his story would—prompted bigger dialogues around the very real challenges facing those in the restaurant world. Below is a small selection of your thoughts so far. 


Adrienne Byard-Hastings: So much love and respect for you, Philip Speer. Bartenders, chefs, and everyone else in this amazing and terrifying business we call "hospitality," take note. Take care of yourselves.

Dana Cree: Shout out to Philip Speer for bravely sharing what often comes from an industry lifestyle of work hard, play hard.

Eric Shelton: Nothing can hold my friend Philip Speer down. Talent and truth here in a four-minute clip. Love you brother.

Alan Massey: Rising up from the ashes, homie. I'm proud to know you Philip.

Rod Machen: Powerful video of Philip Speer talking about his struggles. Sounds like a good first step in fighting addiction.

Joe Doyle: Your video on ChefsFeed was not easy, Philip Speer, but it was authentic and took a lot of guts. Good on ya. Keep up the fight.

Kat Kinsman: Stories like this are why I say the food industry MUST talk about mental health.
Andrew Zimmern: And not just food biz, all sectors. Stigma needs to be removed from drug/booze/mental health issues. I suffer from all.
KK: You are so veryveryvery not alone. And it MATTERS so much that you use your platform to talk about it. Thank you for that. 
AZ: It's crucial for everyone in recovery to stand up and speak out so that others can get help. pass it on!
Philip Speer: We have a responsibility to not only ourselves but each other to begin a conversation about this side of it.
KK: Absolutely. It took guts for you to be so open & I'm grateful & cheering you on. Hope you're getting good care.
PS: I am, the good care begins with me and that I still have! 
KK: You’ve got that & you’ve got so many of us who appreciate that you are being so open. Thinking good thoughts.

Lola L.: Your openness and honesty are inspiring, Philip. Keep fighting the good fight. 

Erika Bongort: Props to Chef Speer for the sobriety and healthy lifestyle. One step at a time chef, one step at a time.

Chef Mike: Big thumbs up. Honesty and humility are the catalyst that creates the escape from industry lifestyle.

Brian Blancett: Thank you I appreciate the honesty and perspective freely given. Life is beautiful. Trust this.

Tbone Talbot: Wow! Is this ever a unique and intense insight into the restaurant /chef world...a scary and grounding thought. It's a good time to get my act in order. Hats off to Chef Speer for giving such a candid interview and for putting it all back together!

Sondra Primeaux: Such a raw, powerful story about the reality of alcoholism in the restaurant industry.  

Darek Tidwell: There needs to be a culture change in the biz. Too many chefs with too many similar stories. We balance flavors textures, colors, books & budgets, but beyond our reach is balancing our work life family or health. Bestowed upon us by our business's demands and brethren is a burn bright then burn out pace because its expected.

One year ago today, in the aftermath of a decision that I made, a decision which effectively let down everyone in the world that I care about... and then some, a decision that landed me in jail once again, I made another choice. This time I chose to begin living a life that I could be proud of, a life I didn't have to hide from my friends and family, a life that I didn't have to try to remember my actions, a life that would hopefully last into the adult years of my children, a living that I could be proud of. 

I am not going to go on a soap box and preach my new way of living, that is not what I would want for anyone. I am not going to deny that my hand was not forced in some ways. I do however, want to share my story so that maybe- just maybe, if there are others out there who feel trapped in a cycle of a madness, maybe they can see that there are choices to make ourselves healthier- mind and body. 

Thank you to my true family and friends who stood by me this last year. Your support in this time of madness has been beyond helpful. You few know who you are and you must know how I could not be where I am today without you.

One year of sobriety looks good on me- think I'll keep wearing it! #rebuild
—Philip Speer // October 10, 2015