There are many heroes in our local food community, but this shout-out goes to the Indigo Road Restaurant Group’s Steve Palmer, who brought a chapter of his organization Ben’s Friends here in April. The Charleston-based restaurateur, who also owns four Atlanta restaurants, named the group after Ben Murray, a chef friend who battled alcoholism and committed suicide last year. “It’s a group of people who have a common goal of trying to stay sober,” he explains. In the wake of some very sad losses to substance abuse in the past few years, the hospitality industry is taking a hard look at kitchen culture. Palmer launched Ben’s Friends as a support group that provides chefs with a safe space to talk. “If we’re evolved human beings, we have a responsibility to care for each other, right?” bensfriendshope.com
This article originally appeared in our December 2017 issue.