10 Reasons You Can't Be a Professional Chef (Even if You Make Really, Really Good Lasagna)

Categories: Foodie Lists

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Enjoy those thumbs. They'll be gone within six months.
​You're slowly simmering a marinara, a glass of red wine perched nearby, an episode of This American Life softly droning in the background, when the thought strikes you: I could do this for a living. Drop out of the rat race, spend a couple of semesters in cooking school, and make it as a pro chef.

Think again, champ. Here's why most people, including you, aren't cut out for a life working in the kitchen.

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While you dream of murder, your shadow just wants to make a nice bouillabaisse.
1. You're terrible at time management. If you can't even time it so that your rice and stir-fry are done at the same time, can you imagine having four ovens, 10 burners, and two blenders going all at once? Of course you can't. And look at those tickets piling up. Your only hope of getting out of here is if all the customers leave. Oh look, they're doing just that!

2. You still have mercy in your soul. You don't have the stones needed to send home your spare line cooks and waiters on a slow night. What we're trying to say here is: you have a heart, and it's still working. Guess who else had a heart? Every broke motherfucker ever.

3. Your sense of humor isn't disgusting enough. Things get nasty in the kitchen. Like, 120 Days of Sodom nasty. If joking about itty-tay ucking-fay a icken-chay reast-bay is too much, perhaps working at a preschool is more your speed.


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154 comments
jpan59
jpan59

10 reasons you cant be a blogger.


1. your not good at exaggerations 

2. it bothers you to use terms like foodie, that people who actually work in the industry cant stand. 

3. Your unable to make top ten lists, which is why ill stop here. 


 

whatever
whatever

Most of the labor done in the kitchen that this article talks about is done by the cooks. The executive Chef of course does cooking BUT thats why there are prep cooks, grill cooks, salad cooks, this article is making it seem that the chef does ALL the labor in the kitchen of course the chef has a very important role like managing the food cost, innovating the menu and being in charge of the staff but damn this article exaggerates about the LABOR the chef performs in the kitchen. 

chef2000
chef2000

@Scientist go work in a kitchen for one week if you can for that long. then come back and show some respect. to the ones who do it for a leaving.

ersqrrl
ersqrrl

shut your sniveling up and go make me a sammich ya mitch

icookifight
icookifight

You know what the best part about being a successful chef and working in a kitchen for almost 15 years is?  When you finally start a new career everything you do at work is so easy that it actually causes guilt.  When I hear people complain about the things they do at my office job now, I laugh alot all day to myself.  It's really refreshing.  I make video games for a living now.  Suck it.

Scientist
Scientist

Seems like the author has had a bad day. 

lovenegronis
lovenegronis

Well put. I'm a bartender, which is hard in many ways but different, and I would NEVER try to work as a chef. 99% of aspiring chefs never make it far past line cook, and when you do things just get harder. I also don't like being burn't by hot metal while sweating, stressing, and screaming/being screamed at.

Full respect to those who can do it. I am not gunning for your position.

lolol
lolol

As a roughneck working on a drilling rig in Canada, I find this article hilarious.

mwolvorines
mwolvorines

Another useless profession patting themselves on the back for something people do everyday for free. Yeah, you're true American heroes for cutting carrots. When you princess' are done on you're prissy pots, wash your hands and get back to work.

subzero328
subzero328

The list could grow to 50 reasons you can't be a Chef.  With 27 years of "Kitchen Slummin" working anywhere from Pizza Shops to 5 star Hotels, the sub-culture life style of working in the stainless steel jungle is all the same. adding some more reasons could be something like this...(just doing 5 more)

11) Working with uneducated self centered mangers above and below you will deflate your goals. You love when they tell you how to staff your kitchens and how you should cook an item. You will become a master of surfing the bullshit daily.

12) Prepare yourself...You will get fired, be let go, and terminate yourself  for no reason, grow a super thick skin and keep your head up and move on, never look back...

13) If you have prior drug and alcohol issues, putting a junkie in a junkies environment will not be good for you.  Finding restaurants that don't have these issues is not realistic.

14) Finding good help...Never mind...lol

15) Burns, Cuts, Blisters, Back Problems, just to name a few of the "basic" medical problems that you will deal with daily. If you don't like pain...Kitchens are not for you...

I'm not sure why we love to do this kind of punishment, but we wake up every morning READY to kick it in the ass. We start our day like it's a whole new job. Learning from yesterday successes and failures.


Randy Reeder
Randy Reeder

Aspiring chefs read up! This is brutally honest, too true and explains why pro chefs are usually bad asses.

Jeremy J. Steinmeier
Jeremy J. Steinmeier

Someone is bitter. But hell, why ruin a good hobby by making it a poorly paid profession?

chef4357
chef4357

The food service industry has been decimated in America over the last 5 decades thanks mostly impart to cheap GMO food and our want for inexpensive food. Trying to keep a budget in a restaurant has become an impossible task without the support of a corporation or the public minority paying attention to what they are actually putting into their mouths. Americans are learning as we are getting so unhealthy and sicker that we might need to pay a little more for food in our homes and while dining out. This in turn would allow culinary professionals to have more of a support staff and allow for proper management( including vacations and heath insurance) in an environment that has the potential to poison hundreds or thousands of people( I would pay extra if I knew someone was there just to keep the place clean. How many people out there have seen someone send you dishwasher to clean the bathrooms in the middle of a rush only to have them go right back to the dish pit? Where does the public think these people come from ?)  As far as what you see on T.V. it’s all a show for the rest of the world who has never been in food service in America. Please support your local home grown restaurants , farmers and butchers ( if you have them) and remember it’s better to be able to eat a real hamburger made with from 30 miles of where you live, twice a week, than to eat what some corporation calls a hamburger( that's only 10% cow) 5 times a week. In my 20 + years of food service this is why you can't be a professional chef and other than the desire of good people to want and need to be a part of an experience to bring people together over great food why would you want to.  

chef4357
chef4357

The food service industry has been decimated in America over the last 5 decades thanks mostly impart to cheap GMO food and our want for inexpensive food. Trying to keep a budget in a restaurant has become an impossible task without the support of a corporation or the public minority paying attention to what they are actually putting into their mouths. Americans are learning as we are getting so unhealthy and sicker that we might need to pay a little more for food in our homes and while dining out. This in turn would allow culinary professionals to have more of a support staff and allow for proper management( including vacations and heath insurance) in an environment that has the potential to poison hundreds or thousands of people( I would pay extra if I knew someone was there just to keep the place clean. How many people out there have seen someone send you dishwasher to clean the bathrooms in the middle of a rush only to have them go right back to the dish pit? Where does the public think these people come from ?)  As far as what you see on T.V. it’s all a show for the rest of the world who has never been in food service in America. Please support your local home grown restaurants , farmers and butchers ( if you have them) and remember it’s better to be able to eat a real hamburger made with from 30 miles of where you live, twice a week, than to eat what some corporation calls a hamburger( that's only 10% cow) 5 times a week. In my 20 + years of food service this is why you can't be a professional chef and other than the desire of good people to want and need to be a part of an experience to bring people together over great food why would you want to.  

silvertone32
silvertone32

I am a Chef working one of the busiest fine dining establishments in charleston sc. I work long hours, get paid like crap and have no benefits. I do, however, love my job and the people I work with. I have no desire to be on Top Chef because as far as I am concerned I am a top chef. Not because I can rock a mystery box out every single time, rather, because I show up for work and rock out great meals for 400 - 500 people a night. P.S. you forgot to mention deck oven burns and the cleaning that happens every day. :)


chefmolshan
chefmolshan

Thank you, thank you! As a former chef/owner of 2 restaurants and now a culinary instructor- I have been preaching this to all. The karaoke analogy is a good one.

Amber Milks
Amber Milks

Thomas Smith :) This is why I have the utmost respect for you!

Karl Wilder
Karl Wilder

I recently met someone who said that he did not care about making good food only being a celebrity chef. He felt that was the only way he would get respect.

madclothink
madclothink

Fuckin' a-right. 

Who the hell are the people in those pictures???

unternull
unternull

This article is spot-on and hilarious! I can vouch for all of the above. And I'm still in the industry, because I'm driven to do it. I wouldn't want any other job.

brjresearch
brjresearch

Who would really want to become a chef after reading this article? I guess your job security is safe isn't it? What a recommendation. I'll stick to being a damn good home cook, and I will send myself cudos every freakin' day, or I'll blog about how great my meals are, and I'll make money off the Google ads. Hey that is an idea, isn't it?


maxxx69kule620
maxxx69kule620

all is true. i love my job. full time. no need to write more....

sunshine_cupcake
sunshine_cupcake

There are ways to run kitchens more efficitiently in Today's modern society with all the advancements that have been made and technology is contributing to it more and more as well. However kitchen's are definitley labour intensive but it can teach you a lot of life skills and nothing is impossible if you put your mind to it.

mateowingtip
mateowingtip

Having spent half of my adult life working to get out of food service I would add.

11. You have to love (something. I never figured out what it was, because it sure as hell wasn't cooking) or hate yourself to work fulltime in a kitchen.

 

icecoldeyes
icecoldeyes

the difference between being a pro chef and insert "policeman" "firefighter, "nurse" etc is that most of them or close to all get holidays, holiday pay, vacation, AND BENEFITS. There's nearly none of that in most restaurants unless you go corp. and no, we chefs don't say all this because we need validation, we do it all for the PASSION of THE FOOD! NOT for validation, the real true chefs are just happy to feed people who love food.We would never stick with it if it wasn't for that! Plus, besides only fisherman i would say (and other weather related issue jobs) noone has it has hard as chefs! Ever try working in a 135F  kitchen plus standing in front of a hot grill and stove with humidity  that can get as bad as the tropics for 3 months of the year and in the winter walking into a kitchen that's 30F (if you're lucky) and for 3 hours until it warms up, having to use a knife sharper than a scalpel while you can barely feel your fingers? Don't think so. As for the "drugs n' drink"  that's is NOT  a professional kitchen WHATSOEVER! I'm been in the biz for 16 yrs and have barely ever seen that go on, if it did their ass is gone ASAP. As for Guest987, dude, that's not a restaurant, that's a shitty  hell hole that's doomed due to lack of any proper hiring or preparation from the top of management down. This article is the TIP of the iceberg, everything can AND WILL go wrong but the best of us do it with one hand tied behind our back and juggling with the other while thinking of specials for the weekend, what bills need to be paid at home, and who can come in for your dishwasher that didn't show up,  all at the same time. 

icookifight
icookifight

@mwolvorines Motherfucker the critical thinking skills we use in a dinner rush would break your brain in half.

ChefA
ChefA

@mwolvorines Far from a useless profession, yes this is over sympathetic we are heroes writing, but trust me you couldn't do what we do. So shut the fuck up. You probably sit behind a desk, or do construction and just "supervise" people and think you work hard. Its about giving up your life for a passion. just go 

chefkevinkroger
chefkevinkroger

@Jeremy J. Steinmeier Where did you get your "poorly paid profession" from? Exec chef's get paid very very well. And this, coming from a guy who's worked in kitchens for 30 years. 

steelresrv211
steelresrv211

@Karl Wilder You are correct sir! All these TV shows have really blurred the line between home cooks, line cooks, personal chef, executive chef. I pride myself on being a DAMN GOOD line cook and have had many a position where Im callin out "yes chef" to some kid just because they recently finished culinary school. Irritating

ChefA
ChefA

@brjresearch A Chef would still critique your "damn good" home cooked food for being lackluster. As a professional listen to Grant Achatz and add double the salt you think is necessary, learn to refine your cuts, and stop being an arrogant dick.

chefkevinkroger
chefkevinkroger

@brjresearch Because being a chef equates an almost vocational experience. Who in their right mind would put themselves through this grind like we do on a daily basis? 

bonnomedeneige
bonnomedeneige

@mateowingtip 11. to quit when you at the end! getting head from a midget stuffed underneath your apron!? one of the two will be a downfall in someones career. 

scottwoolwine9
scottwoolwine9

@icecoldeyes You've been lucky if you haven't dealt with drugs and alcohol in a kitchen.  As a line cook in 4 and 5 star restaurants  i wittnessed cocaine was often done in the walk in.  Several line cooks carried flasks in thier cargo chef pants, and half the staff smoked pot after work as "stress relief" after a 500 cover dinner rush night.  These were culinary graduates and Sous Chefs working under 5 star executive chefs.  So if you've made it 16 years without dealing with it daily... I envy you

marlawickham09
marlawickham09

@icecoldeyes corp suckks ass..i was "12 minutes"short for my vacation, and they knew it and waited till 3 days before..gotta love applebee's!

bonnomedeneige
bonnomedeneige

@icecoldeyes... should know  from multitasking for 16 years that people cant multitask. We just cant process two problems at the same time.

 Its not like in the T&V. 

 I have gotten a cooking job where i get 325 a day. The best advice ive gotten in 13 years is  cooking is not meant to be hard, cooking is essentially easy. Dont make it hard for yourself, Get a cook to think of specials, bills paid at home has nothing to do with cooking, call someone in and wash dishes for a night... easy peasi, if you simply make it so.So relax if your a cook and let the passion push you forward through the rabbit whole .

 Running a business is an entirely different thing.. if your good at both.....cooking and business plans, watch out! 

ChefBlackLeg
ChefBlackLeg

@ChefA @mwolvorines Its ok Chef, that guy doesn't realize that we could cook his wife (assuming his jackass even has one) a meal that'll make her leave his dumbass. Probably never given any loved ones a proper meal. 

mwolvorines
mwolvorines

@chefkevinkroger I would say he got it from the internet, which posts the average salaries for various professions. Guess what, they're pretty poorly paid. Yeah, they do OK for restaurant workers but compared to actual professionals it's pretty meager.

icecoldeyes
icecoldeyes

@bonnomedeneige @icecoldeyes   you've proven that mutlitasking IS not possible! You can't type and use proper english at the same time so you would think of giving a cook the right to ruin the night's specials, and getting a last minute dishwasher is NEVER easy! Anything in your life on your mind effects your day. Also, it's rabbit "hole" not "whole". Hope you're not the one typing up the new menus!  $325 a day, cooking??? Were there 300 hours in that day? lmao

firecoral417
firecoral417

@mwolvorines *princesses -- it's plural -- not a contraction, and not possessive.  

@ChefBlackLeg You're 100% correct. A lot of my boyfriends were line cooks. When I met a chef, I married him. Now I barely have to cook at home, and he even enjoys doing the damn dishes. What a man!

icookifight
icookifight

@andidv8 @ChefA @mwolvorines @chefkevinkroger The sad truth is that even at high levels chefs are paid very poorly.  I did very well for myself and I was broke.  i watched every bartender I ever work with triple my income in 1/4 the hours.  

andidv8
andidv8

@ChefA @mwolvorines @chefkevinkroger

Depends on where you live and what level of professional cookery you're doing. Most of the kitchen gigs in my area run in the $9-$10.hour range. Though thank the gods I've finally landed a position with some real wage/learning potential.

ChefA
ChefA

@mwolvorines @chefkevinkroger It pays well. Online statistics are great, but not accurate. If you're good, it pays well into the range of "actual professionals". Jackass


ssomerschef
ssomerschef

it appears that bonnomedeneige cannot drink and type at the same time.

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