A CHEF whose life was consumed by drugs and alcohol hopes his story will urge others working in the kitchen to get help.

Just two years ago Tom Pymer was a chef working under Raymond Blanc at Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons contemplating ending his own life.

He had racked up debt, fallen out with everybody closest to him and had an addiction to cocaine that had spiralled out of control.

He said he was so addicted to the Class A drug that he still has nasal damage, years after getting help from an Oxfordshire charity that 'saved his life'.

The 22-year-old bagged a job at the top restaurant after slogging for years as an apprentice away from Oxfordshire – where his addiction had started as weekend drug use.

Three months into his new job as the Comme chef – the first chef in the chain – and he knew he had a problem.

Banbury Cake:

Mr Pymer explained: "When I went to work for Raymond Blanc I started to get more into drugs and alcohol.

"It was a slow burner over the years. Everybody around me was doing it – so it just ended up getting really bad.

"I started at the restaurant in October 2016 and by January 2017 I tried to take my own life.

"I had got into a lot of debt and fallen out with my close friends and family.

"I had a cocaine addiction but it had been such a slow build up.

"It started off every weekend, just casually but because it's such a fast paced industry some people need a vice and it's too easy to get involved in when everybody else in the kitchen is doing it.

"It's happening all over kitchens everywhere."

An Oxfordshire drug dealer has said the demand for class A drugs in the county has soared to 'unbelievable' levels.

Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay has hit out at the widespread use of cocaine among restaurant workers before branding the use of the Class A drug as the 'hospitality industry's dirty little secret'.

Mr Pymer said: "I still have the consequences from taking the drug, I have nasal damage now.

"But I went to Turning Point. It got too much and I asked for help.

"Nobody should be afraid to ask for help. Listen to people as well, I had everybody telling me to get help it was a constant battle.

"Turning Point were amazing, the key worker literally changed my life.

"If you don't need to get rehab they can teach you things like moderation.

"I quit my job in January and after getting help was working full time again by the summer of that year. I've got a different job now working at the Magdalen Arms and I've been a finalist in the Craft Guild of Chefs 2019."

Andy Symons from Turning Point in Oxfordshire said: "While addiction can affect anyone, long hours, last shifts, insecure employment, working away from family and a culture of drinking or drug use in certain industries can make a person particularly vulnerable. Workforces dominated by young men tend to have a stronger culture of experimentation with drugs and some people turn to drugs or alcohol to manage stress and depression."

Anybody who is worried about their own or somebody else's drug use should visit wellbeing.turning-point.co.uk/Oxfordshire or call the charity on 0300 0134 776.