The Ties that Bind Us: A Qualitative Study on Friendship & Kinship in Professional Kitchens

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Karlie Tessmer


This paper examines and discusses the types of personal relationships that are developed among coworkers in professional kitchen settings. Professional cooks work in difficult, stressful, and intense work environments. Research indicates that interactions with coworkers can
exacerbate or reduce these stresses and have been shown to impact job satisfaction and employee retention rates directly. However, this research has primarily been focused on organizational outcomes rather than examining the relationships in their own right. This paper assesses how participants conceptualize their workplace relationships. Specifically, this paper examines how professional cooks conceptualize friendship and kinship. To better understand the nuances found between friendship and kinships, I propose that the two seemingly separate categories should be viewed as points on a spectrum of relationships.

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Human connections: cultural practices, relationships, life satisfaction