Any work you do comes with its own set of hardships and challenges, and being a chef is no different. There are certain things no one really tells you before you start your career as a chef – perhaps you would be given some hints, but you learn as you keep going. I thought I would share some insight into the kitchen and share some hardship a chef needs to face on a daily basis.
Long working hours
The shift in the kitchen can be really long and tiring, and no one can prepare you for it. It is very different from most typical 9 to 5 jobs, where for us an 8-hour shift is a blissful day. The working hours of a typical day for chefs can vary from 8,10 or 12 to sometimes 14-15 hours if it’s a busy day. In many cases, 14-15 hours are not very common but can occur if you are busy, but a 12 hour is very normal on a day-to-day basis. It sounds tiring but somehow becomes a normal part of your routine as you keep on doing it daily.
Holidays are working days
The holiday periods are the busiest times in restaurants – where it is a holiday for most people, it’s a busy day for chefs. When working in the hospitality industry, you mostly work all holidays while everyone else enjoys them. Christmas, the biggest holiday here in the UK, is the busiest time for hotels and restaurants, hence extra working hours for all those Christmas lunches and parties need to be done.
Small social life
Well, this one I was warned about before starting my career. Due to the long working hours and working most holidays, the social life of chefs is quite small, as your routine is really different from your friends outside the industry – where they have fixed weekends to have a break, ours can vary anytime during the week. Plus, if you have had a busy week on those off days, you just wanna relax and regain your energy. Therefore, socialising with friends sometimes can be a very tricky situation.
Can be really stressful at times
Working in the kitchen and stress go hand in hand. While working, there will be times where tickets keep on piling up no matter how fast you are going, creating a very stressful environment and sometimes making it hard to keep up as in some scenarios, some chefs are not able to cope. If you are not good at dealing with stress, being a chef should be your last option as a career.
This might be changing with time, but a job as a chef is really underappreciated within the hospitality sector and, in some instances, rather ignored. In places I have worked at, the chef department always feels very secluded from others and ignored by the management, especially in big hotels. As I said, it’s changing with time but very slowly.
Your passion is your motivator!
Every job has its own hardships and so does being a chef, but it’s your passion which helps you keep on pushing every day and keep on going. No matter how hard it will be, if you are passionate enough, all problems seem very small, and you keep on loving what you do… 🙂