Breaking Bias with Kitchen Impossible and Michel Roux Jr

Just as the sun sets on The Great British Bake Off (TGBBO) and a void is created for another cooking show to fill, Channel 4 is launching Kitchen Impossible.

Kitchen Impossible follows former MasterChef judge and professional chef Michel Roux Jr as he mentors eight young people with disabilities including Autism, Asperger's, and Down's syndrome, with the aim of helping them find employment.

Disabled people remain significantly less likely to be in employment than non-disabled people. In 2012, only 46.3% of working-age disabled people were in employment compared to 76.4% of working-age non-disabled people. Roux Jr revealed that some of the young people he mentors in Kitchen Impossible were told 'not to bother looking for a job because of their disabilities' and one of the young people reportedly applied for 170 jobs, which culminated in only two interviews.

Research findings have revealed the following attitudes:

  • Over a third of people tend to think of disabled people as not as productive as everyone else.
  • A quarter of disabled people have felt people expected less of them because of their disability.

Since the highly visible London 2012 Paralympic Games, perceptions and attitudes in the UK towards people with a disability may have changed on a conscious level, but this may not have carried over to the unconscious perceptions and biases that influence decision making.

Unconscious bias against disabled people in recruitment processes remains significantly higher than any other group (Employers Network for Equality and Inclusion). If recruiters and key decision makers have unconscious biases that remain unchallenged, this inevitably impacts on decisions in recruitment, promotion and development.

One of the key strategies to ensure that the impact of unconscious bias on recruitment and promotion decisions is minimised and mitigated as much as possible is to proactively challenge ourselves to find out the strengths of our individual biases.

Whilst most assessment tools only tap into our conscious processes, Implicitly measures the strengths of the hidden attitudes people hold, which operate below the level of individual consciousness, unconsciously accessing our thoughts and feelings. On learning the strength of our unconscious bias, Implicitly shares 30 ways to help individuals better manage their unconscious biases and break habits.

For further information on unconscious bias and Implicitly please visit our website.

Kitchen Impossible will provide greater visibility of disabled people in the media, albeit temporarily, and hopefully this exposure will help increase understanding of disabilities, and positively challenge attitudes.

by Eloise Warrilow, Duty Psychologist, Hogrefe Ltd

  • News