I may be oversimplifying this. But I found this title to be very relevant to how I feel about being a chef. I, by no means want to take away from anyone suffering with mental health issues or mental illness. This is just a reference point I have connected to an image.
So. Do I really hate being a chef? Of course not. Is it Awesome? Sometimes. I don’t want to preach to the choir here. Most of the readers of my blogs are chefs, work in the industry or are people who just like to stalk me. Either way, most are quite well versed in my opinions of this trade.
It is bloody hard and the hours are long. The money is mostly shit and everyone is a critic of your work. Literally, everyone! That all sounds pretty horrible right? Very few industries can claim to put it’s employees through this scrutiny. The likes of TripAdvisor, Yelp or whatever, being able to empower faceless reviewers to pass ill-informed comment on service and procedures they may know little about. Shit, right?
But then there is the other side. The friends we make. The chefs we cross paths with as commis and then again, in latter years as Head Chefs. The Knowledge that you’ve seen each other’s kitchen fuck ups. They are the untold secrets, their chefs need not know about. There is the prestige which comes with success. The review from a respected journalist or a nice write up in the local paper. Better still, a customer telling you directly that the meal was amazing! These are moments again, which are rarely rivalled. So much joy can come from this industry, that I know I’d struggle to turn my back on it fully.
Having a skill like this, will always be respected. If you are a good chef and take your job seriously, you will be admired. So many people look at chefs like we are Magicians, Wizards or Witches. The skills we take for granted, are looked at by “Muggles” as if we just pulled a Rabbit Fricasse out of a hat! We chefs sometimes underestimate what it is we do. Maybe society is to blame for this. Especially here in the UK where the hospitality industry is looked at as something one does to supplement their income. “What’s your day job?” or “Did you always want to be a chef?” The latter question is one I get asked very often. I only recently connected it with the notion that people would not assume “Chef” as a career choice. That’s another rant, for another blog!
If you are considering a career as a chef. Go for it. I’ve been a chef for over 25 years and I still love it. Like any relationship, there are good days and there are bad days. The industry is going through lots of changes right now. With more emphasis on wellbeing now than ever before. Employers are more aware on how much they can and cannot push their staff psychologically. The benefit of this can result in better way of life for ALL involved. Happier employees, happy customers, better food, better business. Makes sense, right?
Being a chef is a love/hate thing. I could ramble on, but I know you get what I’m saying here. We mostly all feel the same.
I hate being a chef, it’s awesome. This summarises my feelings to an extent. Although hate is a very strong word. Too strong, in fact. I may update the image/title to say Being a chef pisses me off a bit sometimes, but it’s pretty cool.