View Full Version : What to Expect

03-24-2013, 02:50 PM
My boss found this on some restaurant blog & posted it on the bulletin board. I thought it was hilarious (and true) enough to share..

When people are thinking of taking their first steps into kitchens, many around them are quick to give advice. They will warn of the toil involved, the strength of character and the stamina that are needed, the long hours... But however much warning is given, one is always quick to disregard it and shrug one's shoulders because really, how hard can it be?

In my years working in kitchens I have seen hundreds come and go; eager at the start but quickly disenchanted and just as eager to get out. Only a small percentage of people who walk into the world of gastronomy stay there once faced with this harsh environment.

Below is a list that I compiled of all the realities of day to day life as a chef, based on my own experience as well as on my observations.

What you can expect from making a living in a professional kitchen:
1.You'll almost always have open wounds on your hands and arms.
2.You'll never meet new people because your social life deteriorates into non-existence.
3.You'll find it hard to start relationships because alone time will become a precious thing.
4.You'll lose your social skills.
5.Your sense of humour will degrade into the politically incorrect and socially unacceptable.
6.You'll eventually start swearing like a sailor and you won't even notice yourself doing it.
7.You'll turn into an anorak/monomaniac and always turn all conversations back to food.
8.You'll earn a pittance for years/decades.
9.You'll either lose a vast amount of weight or gain a vast amount of weight
10.You'll never ever have a tan ever again.
11.You won't become famous.
12.You'll develop a habit, whether it be coffee, cigarettes, alcohol, gambling, cannabis, cocaine, or even red bull.
13.Your feet will get destroyed.
14.Your back will get destroyed.
15.Your hands will get destroyed.
16.You'll live in a constant state of sleep deprivation, indefinitely.
17.You'll have to ask your friends to plan everything around your schedule, which is in complete opposition with their availability, because you never know your days off in advance and you probably won't be able to change it.
18.You'll become of a very highly strung nature
19.You'll become more prone to temper flare ups
20.Your awareness of other people's lack of efficiency and common sense will increase and your tolerance of it will decrease.
21.You'll spend the largest part of your life cooped up in a small, undecorated room with poor ventilation, high temperatures, a lot of noise, humidity, no natural light and no windows, with a small group of people who will become your only social interactions.
22.You will work longer hours than you ever imagined possible or thought legal.
23.You will spend all your waking hours on your feet, never getting a chance to sit down even for 5 minutes.
24.Your shortest work days will be longer than most people's longest, and your longer work days, which make up about half of your working week, will be longer than the average person is awake in a day.
25.You will not cook gourmet dinners at home. You'll be too tired, and too fed up of cooking.
26.You will probably start eating mostly fast food and cheap instant noodles.
27.You will be the subject of abuse, whether physical or emotional. Officially, it will be as a test of character. In reality, it will be as a form of entertainment.
28.You will end up spending so much time at work that your colleagues will know you better than your partner/family/friends do.
29.You will meet and form strong bonds with types of people whom you'd previously never even have imagined sharing conversations with.
30.You will be in a constant state of stress.
31.You will never be irreplaceable and will be expected to constantly give 110%.
32.You will always be exhausted.
33.You will not be allowed to call in sick for a hangover.
34.You will be expected to place your work before any other part of your life in your list of priorities.
35.You will never be congratulated on your work.
36.You will be expected to treat your superiors as absolute masters and never answer back, try to explain yourself, start a conversation, or show any other type of insubordination, even if you know that they are in the wrong or feel as if their behaviour towards you is unacceptable.
37.It will become very difficult to watch friends cook.
38.Your mum will stop cooking for you because she feels embarrassed.
39.You will be expected to cook for family gatherings such as Christmas EVERY SINGLE YEAR. Luckily, at least one year out of two, you will be working on Christmas.
40.At least one year out of two, and maybe every year, you will work Christmas, New Year's Eve, Easter, Valentine's day, Mother's day, Father's day, bank holidays, Halloween, your birthday, and pretty much every other day of celebration on the calendar.
41.You will have to work many years in menial positions before attaining any level of authority in the workplace.
42.The better the restaurant is, the longer the work hours become, the more pressure you end up under, the more unhealthy your lifestyle will become, the more likely you will be to develop a habit, the more competitive the people around you will become, the less sleep you'll get, the less you'll eat etc.
43.You will constantly make mistakes, and every time you do make a mistake, someone will notice it and make you understand that you are clearly a subhuman because only a subhuman could make such a mistake.
44.If you are a woman, you will constantly be the subject of misogynist remarks and jokes, sexual harassment, belittlement and remarks about your menstrual cycle.
45.None of your friends or family will understand what is involved in your work and you will never be able to make them understand.
46.You will spend vast amounts of money on equipment, books, eating in good restaurants etc, which will leave you with not much money for other things.
47.You will develop a creepy obsession with knives.
48.If you are a pastry chef, you will develop a creepy obsession with spoons.
49.You will get a rash in your arse crack from the mixture of heat, sweat and friction that will not heal well, sometimes get infected, will mostly always be slimy and itchy and will be there most of the time.
50.If you are the right type of person, you will thank your lucky star every single day for the rest of your life for making you take the best decision you ever did and become a chef. And you will fall in love with your job and never look back.

03-24-2013, 02:56 PM
LOL. So true.

El Pescador
03-24-2013, 03:00 PM
This should be a sticky.

03-24-2013, 03:16 PM
Arse crack wounds..... Gotta love em

03-24-2013, 06:04 PM
#20 is my favorite, along with #50 of course!

03-24-2013, 07:28 PM
Agreed, #20 made me laugh out loud. This is painfully accurate, but amusing at the same time.
Everyone who thinks they want to be a cook should be forced to read this.

03-24-2013, 09:03 PM
#47 would probably be most people on this site

#49 I really did not need to know

03-24-2013, 09:21 PM
There is a secret amendment to #49:
49(a) You will hastily attempt, mid-shift, to administer a holistic remedy consisting of half a box of cornstarch and a c-fold towel, only to realize moments later that the box you grabbed was actually 10X sugar. :angry1:

03-24-2013, 09:30 PM
Wow, I wasted my life making jewelry when I could have been a chef!

03-24-2013, 09:54 PM
Wow - that's how I used to feel when I worked food. Now it's how I feel when I tech a really big production - different world - same pain.

:plus1: on the sticky

NO ChoP!
03-24-2013, 11:15 PM
100% truth, except insert considering suicide in #50....thanks.

03-24-2013, 11:24 PM
Not a pastry chef but I do have a "creepy obsession with spoons". Same with knives but that's a given.

03-24-2013, 11:26 PM
#51 should be... 95% of your meals consist of stale leftover bread, scraps of chicken from the stock pot, and hot sauce, eaten standing up in the corner

03-24-2013, 11:47 PM
#51 should be... 95% of your meals consist of stale leftover bread, scraps of chicken from the stock pot, and hot sauce, eaten standing up in the corner

or, a bowl of rice with soy and negi hastily consumed while kneeling next to the hand sink stressing about the ticket machine rolling madly

03-25-2013, 12:45 AM
#27 gives my days meaning. Jmadams tonight for dinner, I deglazed a chicken pan with a bit of demi and cream, stale bread, great dinner. Should add a bullet, you will hate the 'Thank god it's friday daywalkers' Gotta love when a lunch server says to you, aren't you glad it's friday? Sorry, no I'm not daywalker, I work fri lunch/dinner sat lunch/dinner sun lunch/dinner and most likely mon lunch/dinner, hey might not be off til thursday next week, but hey thank god it's friday right?! Daywalkers and caveman vultures who needs em.

03-25-2013, 02:52 AM
While I've never worked in a kitchen I can sympathize bout long days and days of the week not meaning a thing. Shiftwork at the hospital changes each set so when I hear that whole "friday" first crap I shake my head too, 14 hr days and nights so many times I need to check what days it is, especially the the start of my set.

03-25-2013, 07:22 AM
+1 on everything! =D

03-25-2013, 10:33 AM
Love thats so true! It's funny how people change after working in a kitchen for a while.

03-25-2013, 11:53 AM
On the odd occasion that you have any time off, you will find it almost impossible to relax or enjoy the rest. You will feel guilty for not working. By the time you start to enjoy it, it's time to go back. It's a sickness.

03-25-2013, 06:07 PM
Sort of reminds me of working in a jewelry trade shop at Xmas time!

03-25-2013, 06:57 PM
On the odd occasion that you have any time off, you will find it almost impossible to relax or enjoy the rest. You will feel guilty for not working. By the time you start to enjoy it, it's time to go back. It's a sickness.

Not me. I only have off Sundays, and not once do I think about work. But I still bake, lol. So maybe it is a sickness

03-26-2013, 01:53 AM
When you do eat, you will eat standing up, and you will eat in record time.

03-26-2013, 01:57 AM
Wow - that's how I used to feel when I worked food. Now it's how I feel when I tech a really big production - different world - same pain.

:plus1: on the sticky

Reverse path here. Started in kitchens, moved into music and theater production, then a couple other vaguely related careers, and then back into the kitchen. The world isn't all that different, but definitely the same pain. LOL

03-26-2013, 02:03 AM
I remember being in a kitchen and lighting a burner with my lighter and had a new guy say "you must not have any hair on your hands" and it took me a minute to think about it cause yeah I haven't had any for years. Plus with my knife perversion less on my forearm. :D

03-26-2013, 02:26 AM
someone said that this was taken off of boudrain's book kitchen confidential. i dunno, haven't read it.

03-26-2013, 02:37 AM
ahhh does sound familiar now.. hmm but yeah, I don't wanna read it again. :)

“Skills can be taught. Character you either have or you don't have.”
― Anthony Bourdain

03-26-2013, 02:38 AM
I don't remember a list like that, but good possibility.

03-26-2013, 02:51 AM
probably reworded it. checked an e-book i got of the bourdain's book.

03-26-2013, 02:57 AM
OK I busted out my hard copy Kitchen Confidential. LOL yeah I know but it was cheap. :)
1. Be Fully committed. (If you're going to be a chef some day, be sure about it,.
2.Learn Spanish. (I can't stress this enough)
3.Don't Steal. (In fact don't do anything you can't take a polygraph test over.)
4.Always be on time. (nothing after this as if it was law :) )
5. Never make exvuses or blame others. (same as above)
6. Never call in sic. (except in cases of dismemberment.)
7. Lazy, sloppy and slow are bad.
8. Be prepared to witness every variety of human folly and injustice.
9. Assume the worst. (about everybody. But don't let this poisoned outlook affect your job performance.)
10. Try not to lie
11. Avoid restaurants where the owner's name is over the door.
12. Think about your resume.
13. Read. (me: goddamnit everything is out there some where all you have to do is make an effort lol )
14. Have a sense of humor about things. ( You'll need it)

sachem allison
03-26-2013, 03:04 AM
i was often times asked to speak to perspective Doe eyed students for my culinary school and everytime the administrators and parents would leave I would tell the student pretty much everything on the list, after about the tenth kid they didn't let me talk to them any more. Just giving them a dose of reality.

sachem allison
03-26-2013, 03:13 AM
#51 you may have a stroke at the end of your shift one night, go to the hospital and still show up and open for brunch the same morning and close that night.
#52 You have a heart attack on the line, have heart surgery and the day you are released you work a 19 hour day to let the guys who covered you while you were on your unpaid vacation have a day off.
#53 your pay will be docked for the days you were gone because, they weren't pre-approved and we don't pay you not to be at work

03-26-2013, 03:21 AM
Ha I was actually working with a guy who had a heart attack while on line at lunch. He worked his whole shift then was looking to pale so he went to hospital on a Friday, was covered on a Sat and he was calling from the hospital worried about his knife kit. He resumed work on Tuesday like nothing happened.

03-30-2013, 01:09 AM
an intern once told me 'i did my 8 hours, i'm going home'
reply was obviously 'don't bother coming back' clearly should have read this list prior to going to culinary school..

03-30-2013, 03:16 AM
Son isn't exaggerating, those are his 51, 52 and 53. Tough mofo still working damn near 20 hrs a day too.

04-01-2013, 12:19 AM
Son isn't exaggerating, those are his 51, 52 and 53. Tough mofo still working damn near 20 hrs a day too.

Cooks are hardcore... some are just more hardcore than others. Damn Son, I thought I worked a lot... but apparently I'm one of the 'not-so-hardcore' variety- compared to you, I work a nancy schedule, only 75 a week:laughat: