The Life Of A Chef

I laugh every time I hear someone say they want to be a chef because they think it is a glamorous life. Or that they think they will become rich and famous. HA! HA! HA! Too funny! That only proves they know absolutely NOTHING about what it is really like. Do they really know about the personal costs? Do they really know about the LONG hours, NIGHTS, WEEKENDS and HOLIDAYS? I don’t think so. In order to graduate from culinary school, it was MANDATORY to actually work in a restaurant for at least 6 months to really understand a chef’s life. Most people can’t hack it. It is definitely NOT a lifestyle choice for the weak or faint-hearted. The food industry, and particularly restaurants, is a BRUTAL business. You have to be tough and made of the right stuff to survive.

When I was in restaurants, it was still an early time for a lot of women in the industry, which made it even tougher. It is very much a man’s world. I had to work twice as hard and be twice as good just to get half the respect. You have to quickly learn how to play with the big boys or you won’t make it. And don’t even think about crying or showing weakness. You will be eaten alive and thrown out with the trash in a heartbeat. If you are a woman in this man’s world, you have to be even tougher than the men, and believe me, that is saying a lot.

I found these kitchen quotes that really sum up the life of a chef perfectly.

These don’t even go into all the burns and cuts we get on a daily basis either. I have been to the doctor a few times for major burns and/or cuts, and then went right back to the kitchen.

Believe me, these are all very true. Recently Larry and I were watching the movie Burnt, with Bradley Cooper, and he asked me if that was a true representation of the kitchen life. Um, YEAH! Very much so. We also have a favorite word that is used A LOT in the back of the house. This word is NEVER used in the front of the house, but it is a standard part of our vocabulary in the back of the house. It starts with an “F” and ends with a “K”. I’ll let you fill in the blanks. 🙂

So if you still think being a chef is living a glamorous life, think again. Do your research and actually work in a professional kitchen for awhile first. It is NOT the same as cooking from home. This is definitely a labor of LOVE. If you are not passionate about this job, DON’T do it! It will take everything you’ve got and then some if you let it.

I hope this helps all you want-to-be chefs out there. Enter this business with caution if you dare. You either have it in you or you don’t. But if you do have what it takes, it gets in your blood and there is no turning back.

Stay safe and stay well. ‘Til next time.

Author: ajeanneinthekitchen

I have worked in the restaurant and catering industry for over 35 years. I attended 2 culinary schools in Southern California, and have a degree in culinary arts from the Southern California School of Culinary Arts, as well as a few other degrees in other areas. I love to cook and I love to feed people.

16 thoughts on “The Life Of A Chef”

  1. I can’t imagine going into a career because you think it will be glamorous. What a ridiculous reason! You choose a career because you have a passion for it, you think you have an aptitude for it, and you have something worthwhile to offer… at least if you have the sense God gave an artichoke.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post.

    I was browsing through random shows the other day and stumbled upon one about bartenders. The first person that got eliminated was an Instagram mixologist. Hahahah. You can make things appear nice on camera, but it doesn’t mean that it’s actually drinkable/edible. Those people think of themselves as drink masters/chefs and have no idea.

    I enjoy watching cooking shows like Hell’s Kitchen. I know some of it is for the show, but I believe that most of it is real. What I like most about these is that it shows how humbling being a chef can be. It builds character (for those that actually go through with it). It’s a bit like army BootCamp.

    Liked by 1 person

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