The concept of finding balance between work and the rest of life can seem laughable at times. However being able to take the the time to focus on each can help to support a more sustainable lifestyle -- one in which you don't feel like you are always sprinting a marathon. We asked hospitality leaders to share how they approach this constant juggle.


I'm actually in a good place when it comes to my work/life balance. My old habits led to a breakdown, so I had to make changes. I work at the venues around 50-60 hours a week and from home quite a bit because there are no distractions there. I'm never in the bars generally past 9 or 10 pm, and I don't drink, I spot-taste. Outside of the venues, I have a girlfriend that I love, two dogs that I hang out with on the weekends and a rigorous training routine, I'm a marathoner. It's a balance that works for me. Balance is objective and different person-to-person.

Jack McGarry, Managing Partner for The Dead Rabbit Group

I honestly don’t think I am very good at having a healthy work/life balance yet, but I continue to work on maintaining this for myself so that I can set an example for my team. I make my rounds to each of my restaurants and then head home to lay in bed with my kids and sing them a song before bed. Sometimes I am successful with this, but most times I am not because things pop up all around me. When I do make it, the sheer joy on my kids faces is enough to try and make it happen again sometime soon.

Wesley Conger, Director of Operations at BOKA Restaurant Group

At times it becomes a challenge in itself for me to practice what I preach. I may not have the healthiest balance between life and work. I travel more than I probably should. I feel a great responsibility to everyone at Shōwa Hospitality and I want to be there for them when they want to talk. With this lifestyle it became necessary for me to make sure I carve out time to be with my family. This industry throws things at you all the time, it is important to triage (as in medicine) and realize what is urgent and what can wait. I put my family first, and think that is the healthiest path forward.

Julian Hakim, President of Shōwa Hospitality

I left New York City in 2019. I knew I wanted to start a business, but also knew that if I tried to do it in Brooklyn where I was living I would not be able to have the work life balance that I wanted with a young family. By moving to Northern Westchester and running the business out of my house for three years I was able to grow slowly and at a pace that felt manageable. Now I’m able to run my own shop and still be home with my kids a lot. I take one day completely off! I pick them up from daycare everyday and am home for dinner every night. That would have been impossible in the city.

Rebecca Turnbull, Chef / Owner of Little Star Pastry

As anyone knows, finding the right balance between life and work is very hard. It is very, very hard but properly coaching your team will help you to enjoy your free time and worry very little about work when you're in your free time.

Francisco Ramirez, Executive Chef at LMNO

When it comes to maintaining a healthy work/life balance, I have been very lucky as I work with my husband and my daughters. We always have dinner together (with whoever is living in our household at the time); we relax, enjoy a glass of wine and share our thoughts, feelings, concerns, dreams. This is what we call in Mexico "la sobremesa." For many years, we haven't had a vacation or time off. It's always been work and more work, but finally, my husband and I are trying to relax a little and travel a little too.

Iliana de la Vega, Chef / Owner of El Naranjo and Mexican Culinary Traditions, Consultant at Stanford University Dining Enterprises

It’s tough maintaining a healthy work/life balance. I surround myself with a good team who I trust and rely on and try to start my day by taking some time for myself. I try to take the boys to school and get to the boxing gym before heading to the restaurants and office.

Curtis Stone, Iron Chef, Show Host and Owner of Stone Food, Inc.