Not 9 to 5, a non-profit global leader in mental health education and advocacy for the restaurant and hospitality sector, has partnered with Director Cabot McNenly. We’ve produced a short docuseries featuring chefs Sam Medeiros and Farzam Fallah. The intention is to share community stories and feature restaurant and hospitality voices. This is the first of the series, stay tuned more to come!
We’re thrilled to share the first of a series of videos that were shot during the pandemic. This initial video features Sam when she still lived in Toronto and worked at La Palma as a sous chef.
Transcript of video featuring Chef Sam Medeiros (she/her):
My name is Samantha Medeiros and I am a sous chef.
So I was put into a management role when I turned 23, and I was definitely the same age, if not younger, than a lot of the people I was mentoring or leading. It became very lonely and it was, it was kind of like I wanted to fast track something. I wanted to just, I wanted to just be older. I wanted to be more mature. I wanted to be more experienced.
I was struggling a lot with how to speak to people, how to get the best out of people, how to keep my emotions in check. I was also not handling conflict very well at the restaurant. Whenever someone didn’t listen to me, and it wasn’t just this clear cut old school mentality of “Yes chef, right away, chef,” I took that as an insult or like a level of disrespect. It wasn’t that people weren’t listening to me or trying to be disrespectful, but because I was promoted at such a young age and was struggling myself with being respected or heard or listened to, I was taking it the wrong way.
I remember always thinking that my chefs never messed up and that they never made mistakes.
But I actually think it helps for younger chefs and younger cooks to see you mess up and to realize that you’re human and it’s okay.
And it took a few wrong turns and a lot of apologies to come to terms with not always having all the answers, but instead being a little bit more open with your staff, being a little bit more open with your team that you’re not sure, or that you’re, you’re struggling too, and it’s okay. And I hope that the few times that I have messed up didn’t alter people’s careers the way mine was because of years of abuse.
Not 9 to 5 is beyond grateful to Director of Photography Cabot McNenly for helping us bring these videos to life. His past work has been nominated by both the The Canadian Screen Academy (CSA) and The Canadian Society of Cinematographers (CSC) and been shown at festivals around the world, including Locarno, South By Southwest, Hot Docs, and TIFF. Thank you Cabot for sharing your talent with us!
We recently reconnected with Sam and after watching this video she reflected back to that time and shared an update,
“A few months after we shot, I was promoted to head chef at age 26. What I felt as a sous chef got magnified with more responsibility added, and I felt even more imposter syndrome. I was leading and feeling a need for leadership myself. Later that year we left Toronto for Melbourne, Australia in October 2022, and I stepped down to be a senior line cook. I needed to feel good about myself mentally and find the love and passion again. Now 2 years later, I am starting at a new kitchen as a sous chef again, and it feels like a full circle moment. This time, I feel I am in the right head space to absorb, learn, be mentored, and have the strength to mentor myself.”
Thank you to Sam for sharing your story, to La Palma for opening up your doors and to Joseph for the beautiful music.
Director/Director of Photography/Editor: Cabot McNenly
Executive Producer: Hassel Aviles
Interviewee & chef: Sam Medeiros
Music Composer: Joseph Shabason
Location: La Palma restaurant, Toronto, ON, Canada