The job of a chef, the head of all-things-food, is a combination of art and craft. To be the best at it, you need to be ready to walk a mile. Every day. That’s just the gist of this profession. The reality is way beyond anyone’s figment of the imagination. It is why the life of a chef is froth with challenges that demand more and more of them. So much so, that Michelin star cooks have accepted that there are some days when even speaking to another person at the end of the shift is impossible. But they say, the passion for cooking keeps them going.
Let’s take a look at four reasons that make the profession of a chef so hard and gruelling.
- There are no set working hours for a chef. In the corporate world, you might have to work two to three hours max over the fixed period. But in the hospitality sector, a 16 to 18-hour shift is the norm. It does matter if it is pouring rain or hailing storm outside if the footfall at the joint is high; the chef has to be there till the last customer leaves.
- For the rest of the world, celebrations like birthdays and festivals like Diwali are all about taking a break and enjoying. For chefs, those are the busiest days of the year. From Christmas to Eid to Holi, there are no off days for the person who rules the kitchen. Instead, they are tiring and time-consuming hectic work weeks because chefs spend it preparing delicious dishes that others can relish.
- Quality checks are a pain in the neck. Not because the chef made a mistake but because a subordinate’s error is also their responsibility. There are numerous examples of eateries getting a writeup because the food went and misbehaved due to weird weather or a sous-chef did not keep a close enough eye. It is the chef who suffers when even the littlest mistake is made because they are the ones blamed.
- The customer is king, but they are also weird. Thinking the profession is smooth sailing that involves concocting yummy menu items is foolhardy. There will be times when customers will demand dishes that are out of stock. There will be days when a person wants something that is not on the menu. There will always be individuals who love to create trouble for the chef. Your task is to be ready for it, always.
- The life of a chef is not easy, and that is understating it. It is more than preparing finger-licking dishes. It includes managing the entire staff, menu, ingredients, stock, theme, etc. Essentially a chef is a multi-tasker who can keep on top of every issue at every second of the day. Only if you are hundred percent sure that you can handle these chores, without wishing to run for the hills, should you take the first step on this path.