Early retirement fears: Celeb chef urges industries to keep older employees for longer

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The British restaurateur lost his father at a young age after he settled for an early retirement. [Source: The Telegraph - Andrew Crowley]

Celebrity chef Rick Stein has revealed he employs older people in their 60s and 70s at his restaurant chains because he believes an early retirement compounded his late father’s mental health problems. 

Mr Stein, 77, is an advocate against pushing older people out of work too early after he lost his dad to suicide in 1965 when he was just 18. While battling bipolar disorder, Mr Stein’s father is said to have jumped off a cliff near the family’s holiday home shortly after he left his managing role at a distillery. 

As the retirement age increases around the world from our population living longer, the television icon and cookbook author encourages industries to utilise the endless wealth of knowledge and experience held by older employees and keep them in jobs for longer. 

“Dad took early retirement and he struggled without all the camaraderie and pressure of work,” he told Saga Magazine.

“My industry focuses on younger people – which is great – but older people often bring a nice balance.

With a caution around retirement, the British restaurateur has no plans to step away from the kitchen despite having had open heart surgery at the Royal Brompton Hospital in London earlier this month after struggling with breathlessness.

Having only recently obtained the ability to focus on his father’s “positive” side and forgive him for what he described as “a kick in the teeth”, the father of three is in good spirits about his health and future. 

“Oh my gosh, I’m so much older than he was when he died. But there you go,” he said.

“Even though at my age and with the normal realities of life I’m not going to last that much longer.”

Mr Stein owns The Rick Stein restaurant group which operates a number of sites in the UK and Australia. It was established nearly 50 years ago when he opened his first eatery, The Seafood Restaurant, in Padstow, England in the 1970s.

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