As a mostly outsider starting to see the inside, I'm just amazed that cooks don't make more.
I spent a couple hours yesterday, for fun, looking through all the pastry equipment through links I found in the spun sugar thread over in the pastry forum. I read up on how to make poured sugar, spun sugar, the colors, the molds, how you glue pieces together.
I looked at all the different kinds of chocolate, tools, techniques, temperatures, timing, and just couldn't believe that they don't make as much as so many others in the world with jobs that require skills. There is a LOT needed by cooks, be they pastry chefs or food chefs, whatever. Science, math, creativity, patience, knowledge, knowledge, knowlege. I am humbled by what the people on this board and in my restaurant can do. As some of you know, I am a full time web programmer as my day job. From there I go to the restaurant, where education and experience is my payment. I pay my own insurance in order to be there. I know a lot of things, and maybe from a standpoint of a non-programmer, I know a LOT of stuff. It's always different outside looking in. But I am simply AWED by what an experienced cook can do, and knows, and creates. The amount of effort that goes into what they do, vs. me sitting at a computer for eight hours is drastically different. Cooks use brain and body power. I just don't understand why they don't make more. What I mean is, I don't understand how the world came to be that this is not recognized and appreciated. Following your bliss is supposed to equal success. Follow your heart and the money will follow. But it doesn't. I just don't understand how this ocurred, you know?
Not a very helpful post, but I did want to state how amazing I think professionals are in this industry. It's baffling how somehow the working world is missing out on this, at the detriment of the chefs, who love it so much they just keep doing it anyway.