E17 Ben Fossilo, Let’s Taco ‘Bout Community

Back of House, Front of Mind

“Back of House, Front of Mind” is a podcast presented by Healthy Mind Menu, an industry-led initiative that aims to improve the lives and normalise conversations around mental health for those working in the hospitality industry.

Welcome, Ben

Meet Ben Fossilo, the vibrant and energetic force behind La Cabaña and the latest hotspot, Wild In the Street. Many know him from Perth’s beloved food truck, EAT NO EVIL, which he started 10 years ago. Ben’s journey took him from Denmark, WA to Montenegro, with a passionate love affair with Mexican cuisine along the way.

Ben is a leader, championing mental health and wellbeing for the South Fremantle community, supporting both small businesses and local hospitality venues.

Join us as Ben shares his vibrant adventures while making a difference in his community.

Get ready for an inspiring episode!

Can you tell us about your career and how you got to where you are today?

I started in kitchens at 18 as a dishie folloed by a chef apprenticeship when I was 19. I worked in restaurants until I was 27  and then started a food truck Eat No Evil for about 5 years. After my Food Truck days, I opened La Cabana in South Fremantle where I worked as head chef and owner, then opened Wild In The Street 2 years ago and have been working in both venues since.

Explain the reasons why mental well-being has become important to you.

Now that I have employees I feel a responsibility to them, to be better and mentally well so to create a space for them. Work can take up a major part of your life so it should be a nurturing place to create longevity in the staff and the business. Lots of challenges, and starting a business is stressful, trying to get it right. Are people gonna like it? Are you wasting money? Are your staff feeling looked after? Is your business efficient and profitable? Always tweaking and directing the business relying on gut instinct and hoping that you actually know what you’re doing..

How do you prioritise self-care and balance it with other responsibilities in your life? Work-life balance. (Sleep, nutrition, connectedness, physical activity, downtime)

Try… but it seems like you always have to be working at it. To break habits and form good habits takes consistency and discipline and sometimes when you have a lot of responsibility elsewhere it’s easier to forget about yourself. Definitely good routine is necessary to be able to cope with everything.

If you could simplify your philosophy on life, how are you living? What do you tell yourself each morning when you wake up?

I try and live in the day. If I mess up, or if something goes wrong, or if I go off track. I don’t beat myself up and just rest and start again tomorrow with good intentions. If I wake up with good intentions and then something unexpected happens or if things don’t go to plan I just move on. You can’t change the past you can only learn from it

How do you approach goal setting and achieving success?

Not too far in the future. I try little achievable goals regularly to go in a good direction and then when you achieve them it feels good in the moment. All the while following a master plan maybe.

How do you inspire wellbeing in those around you?

Try to be positive, good energy, try to be caring,

What does healthy hospitality mean to you?

Hospitality is an industry where you are employed to give personal energy and you have to interact with customers all the time, it’s very draining so it is when your work is a positive healthy influence on your life and not draining/taking energy.

Employers and managers play a crucial role in creating supportive workplaces. What advice would you give to them to be proactive in addressing issues and fostering a culture of support and understanding?
To create a work environment that is a safe and supportive space for your employees. Then if there are things going on outside of work they can see the job as a safety net with ‘family’ around. So they look forward to going to work and contributing and it becomes beneficial for both of you.

If you enjoyed the content in this podcast please subscribe, like, and share with your local community. 


Let’s make sure mental health is always on the menu!

Join us in October 2023 as we partner with hospitality venues, workers, and customers across Western Australia to promote mental health and well-being in the industry and the community.

Although rewarding, working in hospitality can be isolating, unsociable and high-pressure. Mental health is emerging as a major challenge for hospitality businesses with 80% of workers reporting they are suffering from symptoms.

We also unite to celebrate the many reasons we love WA Hospitality. Hospitality offers workplace fun, friendship, camaraderie, and a strong connection to the local community, enhancing worker well-being and retention.

During Mental Health Awareness Month, we aim to shine a light on the brilliant people who create and maintain our favourite local places to meet, unwind, and be entertained. We invite you to join us in celebrating what makes the industry great while supporting the mental health of hospitality workers.

How can you get involved? It’s easy!


Partner with Healthy Mind Menu during Mental Health Month 2023

Throughout Mental Health Month, venues across WA will unite to drive donations towards Healthy Mind Menu Inc. 

As a venue partner, you can make a difference by pledging a portion of sales from a specific product during mental health month. For example, you can donate $1 from every pint of Pale Ale or $5 from every chicken parmigiana sold. We encourage you to have fun and get creative with the naming, marketing, and delivery of your Mental Health Month offering. In the past, venues have even created exclusive signature cocktails, tacos, and lunch specials.

By partnering with us, you’ll receive a mental health awareness package, including venue posters, brochures, and staff resources. We’ll also design co-branded material to promote your deal to customers on both your channels and ours.

Fundraise and Receive a Complimentary Wellbeing Workshop for Your Team

We are pleased to offer an exclusive incentive for venues that raise more than $1500 during Mental Health Awareness Month. As a token of our appreciation, venues that reach this fundraising milestone will receive a complimentary Mental Health Wellbeing Workshop.

The Mental Health Wellbeing Workshop will be conducted at your venue and tailored to meet the specific needs of your team. Our experienced facilitators will deliver an engaging and interactive session focused on promoting mental health, building resilience, and fostering a supportive work environment. This workshop provides valuable insights, practical strategies, and actionable tools that can be implemented within your team to enhance overall wellbeing.

The Impact of Your Support

This year, all the funds raised will go towards developing Australia’s first-ever Mental Health Toolkit for the Hospitality industry. It’s going to be a game-changer—a best-practice guide that tackles mental health and well-being issues head-on in the workforce. Our venue partners totally rocked it last year by creating awareness and raising funds, which got us started on this important research project with the Edith Cowan University (ECU) Centre for Work and Wellbeing.

Now, let me break it down for you. This research project has three phases, and we’re super stoked to announce that Phase 1 is right around the corner. In October 2023, we’ll be releasing an industry report that dives deep into the mental health and well-being of hospitality workers in Western Australia. It’s gonna be eye-opening, folks!

But here’s where you come in. We need your support to kick off Phase 2. We want to develop a program that’s based on solid evidence and can provide ongoing support to both employers and employees in the hospitality industry. 

A healthy hospitality industry means a healthy community. The ripple effect is massive! 

Register Today

To become a venue partner or learn more about how you can support Mental Health Awareness Month, please contact Paisley, our coordinator, at coordinator@healthymindmenu.org.au

Join us in making a difference and promoting mental health and wellbeing in the hospitality industry.

Scroll to Top