E23 Jerry Fraser – The Oysterman

Jerry Fraser, The Oysterman

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, Jerry

In this episode, we are delighted to feature Jerry Fraser, also known as “The Oysterman,” who runs a freelance oyster bar business. With forty years of hospitality experience across five continents, Jerry specialises in catering to international and interstate events and various venues and restaurants in WA. He lends his expertise to eight different venues, demonstrating his commitment to delivering exceptional oyster experience.

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.

Tell us how you spend your days?

During the week, I say Cheerio to my wife who is a school teacher, I feed the dog and, if the weather permits take her for a walk.  Go and catch up with friends for a coffee or light lunch -I’m a social animal. In the evenings I work with restaurants and on weekends usually do private events.

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

While studying for my degree in Geology in Florida in late 70s, I visited an oyster bar weekly to eat and drink. The owners opened a new one where I learnt the art of shucking. I graduated in ‘82 and spent a year doing geology in Peru (my home country) then went to London in ‘83 and ran oyster bars there for 12 years. I spent a year in Spain running a restaurant and in 1988 met a young lady from Perth and we married in London in 1991. Two sons later we moved to Perth in 1996 and got involved in the oyster bar scene and haven’t looked back…
Since then – international gigs, interstate gigs and plenty WA events and restaurants-still at it today -plying my services at 8 venues at the moment

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

I spent 20 years drinking and doing drugs from around age 16 to 36. Worked hard and played hard -thought it was the way. Fiona changed all that for me-she is my rock -I’ve been clean for 32 years and am passionate about my family and still enjoy immensely the hospitality business -frustrating at times but I am old school.

How do you prioritise self-care and balance it with other responsibilities in your life?

As much time with family as possible – Self respect
Respect for others
Be a giver not a taker

No dress rehearsal so embrace
Being a diabetic my nutrition is important
Always connect with family and friends -only takes a second and is free Downtime-walks with Fiona -coffee or a concert or a movie

What is something you’re currently working on that you’re excited about?

We are wanting to spend more time with our grandson Fergus-also making plans for next year when I turn 70!

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

I’m still alive.

How do you approach goal setting and achieving success?

As one gets older and more tolerant you can choose which doors to open -never close them completely.

How do you inspire wellbeing in those around you?

Don’t take yourself too seriously-more laughter is needed.

What does healthy hospitality mean to you?

Keep an eye on your colleagues-I was clever at hiding my addictions but was screaming from the inside for help -we all need pat on the back

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

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