The holiday season is synonymous with longer hours and unexpected surprises that have the potential to derail your day and elevate your stress level. Here, we’ve compiled advice from hospitality leaders on not only surviving, but thriving during the busy times which are useful during the holidays and the rest of the year.


“I wish I knew when I was starting out that everything was going to be OK. Working in restaurants can be overwhelming and stressful. The emotional toll can be too much. After a few years of anxiety and some tears in the walk-in, I realized mistakes aren’t the end of the world. The chef may have yelled at me today, but that doesn't mean it has to happen tomorrow. After a while, I was able to tolerate the yelling and hear the message.”

Melissa Walnock, Lecturing Instructor and Pastry Chef at The Culinary Institute of America

“Get a dog! Or a cat! In all seriousness though, the hospitality industry can be consuming. It has been essential for me to maintain a strong foundation with friends and companions that present a fun outlet outside of work.”

- Carina Barrera, General Manager at The Charter Oak

“Persevere, even under crushing odds. You will get beat down; you will face failure, you will burn more toasts than you ever should – push through, past the failures. There’s an eternal redemptive quality in our work: we can do better at the next plate, the next shift, tomorrow.” 


“The best advice I can give someone is to be calm in the storm. When challenges arise or things fall apart, not only does being calm give the team confidence in your ability to manage the situation but when you are collected and focused, it also mitigates the stress and nervous energy that can otherwise build.”

- Sam Pogue, Principal of Paper to Table

“Excuses are for the weak. While it seems severe, this motto has gotten me through some tough situations. It holds me very accountable. There are so many situations that affect you, but if you dig in deep and do it, you’ll find that everyone rallies around and helps you through it."

- Erin Clarke, Executive Chef at Casa Luca

For more words of advice from industry leaders check out our other Inspirational Career Timelines.  If someone you work with has been an inspiration to you and your team let us know by emailing us at [email protected].