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so why do you do it?

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
so im into my second week of culinary school. blah blah yada yada yada. lately i've taken a divine interest in everything chef. i listen more to conversations on the career etc. just my observance here and there (forums, school and chefs that i know) how horrible, overworked & underpaid they feel they are. or how terrible this or how terrible that. long hours, standing on my feet, no recognition, no bonus, little bonus, stupid bonus. it just seems that there is this negative world in the chef community. i never noticed it until i got inside. from the outside looking in it always seems to me that chefs enjoy what they do which is part of the reason i decided to give it a go (i did have an interest in the field as well). lately, seeing the other side has me wondering if i made the right decision. i mean i kinda like having a purpose and the respect/attention even being a "student chef" commands. so tell me, if its that bad, why do you do it? or is this attitude thats just kept between chefs?
post #2 of 28
Why do I do it?
I enjoy cooking.
More to the point, I enjoy cooking for others.
Of course, not everyone I cook for is appreciative to the level I desire.
So it goes too for some that I work with.
Some revere the Chef, some look at you as a grunt.
But, while I would like the respect and admiration from all I encounter, I don't expect it. That's not why I do it.
It's for the ones who do appreciate the effort and the results.
For the ones that have that happy glazed look of euphoria as they first bite into a dish I've prepared.
For those who can't stop talking about it, while eating it and long after.

I've had some of the best times of my life in a kitchen.
So too have I had some of the worst.
But doing what I do, knowing that contrary to popular belief, not everyone can do it to the same level of success, is a reward unto itself.

And as a cook once told me when I was just a dishmeister "cooks are tempermental.....50% temper, 50% mental".
I think I uphold that tradition, which is probably a clue as to why I do what I do.
Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
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Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
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post #3 of 28
i always wondered this, everyone i know who is or was in the culinary industry as a chef or in the kitchen, says they hate it... for all the reasons you listed... overworked, underpaid, no time off etc. i would say most of them have even told me not to get into the field at all...
post #4 of 28
I do it because I Want to... despite logic or good sense. Simple as that. I love dealing with food, touching it cooking it, cutting it up, disassembling and resassembling, the pulse and rhythm of the line, the fire, the screaming, the silence, and the eating.

I complain about it because I don't want the market to be saturated by cook-wannabes (Hahaha... perhaps I'm being too cynical and crazy) who are vying for a job against me.

But to be entirely honest I think that in every occupation you'll have people grumbling about their work... it happened when I was doing work in another field and it happens here too (and I have to admit that I do it myself). Humans just have this need to complain about whatever they're doing, no matter how much they love it and at the end of the day we all have to look at ourselves and what we do and go "Is it worth it? Are there things about my career that I want to change?" For me the answers to both questions are yes so I do what I have to do to achieve my goals (Better experience, more money, etc.)

There will always be good and bum jobs in any industry and some people will be able to live on their passion while others will burn out... it's just so risky to do something that's based on one's passion that repeated negative experiences could turn you off it for good, and that's not something I want anybody to experience.

In the end as most things in life it is what you make of your own experience and how you want to proceed from there. Barring serendipity we control our destinies... don't we?
"If it's chicken, chicken a la king. If it's fish, fish a la king. If it's turkey, fish a la king." -Bender
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"If it's chicken, chicken a la king. If it's fish, fish a la king. If it's turkey, fish a la king." -Bender
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post #5 of 28
Excellent comments by Just Jim and Blueicus. While I was in the military there was a saying, that a bitching soldier is a happy soldier. The point behind the saying was that when a soldier is bitching and complaining about something, it is because he cares. He cares about whatever it was he was complaining about. It was the quiet or silent soldier you(as a leader0 had to worry about because there was a really good chance that he no longer cared about his job or whatever.

As life has gone on I have noticed that people are that way. We only crab and complain about what means something to us. We don't spend the energy to crab and complain about something that means nothing to us.

Also the crabbing and complaining is a method of relieving some level of stress and aggravation so one can keep their sanity. In the end its all good.

Not everyone that complains about something is happy or passionate about what they are doing. In the end they quit and move on to something else. I needed a change in my primary line of work while I was in healthcare and when I couldn't get that change, my passion for patient care withered and died. I became the silent, quiet person and found my escape from healthcare.
post #6 of 28
Being middle-aged and almost old enough to qualify as a crusty-old-fart, I can tell you I do it because I really like cooking. Seems really obvious, but I would say that MORE than 50% of all people I have ever worked with in a professional kitchen genuinely hated it. So why stay? It does not pay much, and you will never become famous, powerful, or influential?

Dear me. When I grew up, there was a hard and fast difference between vocation (what you did for a living to pay the bills) and avocation (your hobbies). So, making both into one was considered to be Nirvana, regardless of whether making the rent payment that month was easy or hard.

Please, do it because you love it (as I do), and not because you think it will lead you to fame and riches (because it won't).
post #7 of 28
Rather than retype what Just Jim has so eloquently said I will borrow the parts that are relevant to me.

I agree wholeheartedly with those statements. I will add that I also love food, all food. And I think that cooks/chefs are like anybody else that creates something for others to appreciate, artists, musicians, etc. There is a bit of a show off, look at me mentality going on. If not musicians would not record or play outside of their home and artists would hang their paintings in their living room.
It's mostly about the food, and then about us :D
My latest musical venture!
http://myspace.com/nikandtheniceguys
 
Also
http://www.myspace.com/popshowband "I'm at the age when food has taken the place of sex in my life. In fact I've just had a mirror put over my kitchen table." Rodney Dangerfield RIP
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My latest musical venture!
http://myspace.com/nikandtheniceguys
 
Also
http://www.myspace.com/popshowband "I'm at the age when food has taken the place of sex in my life. In fact I've just had a mirror put over my kitchen table." Rodney Dangerfield RIP
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post #8 of 28
for me chef is not a job, is a lifestyle,.

and for me, cheffing is not a job to do if u dont like it. u can be in a shop selling stuff all day and cope with it, but if u r cooking in a professional kitchen, at chefs conditions(money, hours, heat, pressure...) and 6 days a week, u better like it or u´ll go mental.
Shiny, Shiny... GO HOME!!!
(C. E. Oddie)
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Shiny, Shiny... GO HOME!!!
(C. E. Oddie)
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post #9 of 28
“There are always two choices. Two paths to take. One is easy. And its only reward is that it's easy.”
post #10 of 28
Only you can choose what makes you happy.

As much as it is demanding if you dont love it, it will show and you will be miserable which will reflect in your food and etc....
post #11 of 28
I do it because I love it, both cheffing and the restaurant business.

I love the ever changing aspect, the insanity, it is not a mundane 9 to 5 same old same old type of job.

I love working with my hands, my eyes (artistic), my tactile sense, sense of smell, taste, being creative.

I am good at it, which gives me a great sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.

I enjoy wowing other people and pleasing them.

I read cookbooks like most people read novels.

I read menus of restaurants I walk by.

I critic restaurants when I dine out.

I cruise culinary sites on the internet.

I am obsessive and nuts!
Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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post #12 of 28
Thread Starter 
thank you all very much for your replies. great to see that (at the end of the day) it is something that you have a deep passion for, which is the ultimate reason you do it. makes sense :o
post #13 of 28

good food is a beautiful thing

I cook for a living because when people go out to eat at nice places, a lot of times its a special occasion. I have been part of a few marriage proposals, so for the rest of their lives they are probably gonna remember how good that lamb shank I made was. I still remember what I ordered the night I proposed. I used to work on a cruise ship and on wednesday nights we would pass by a volcano and from the restaurant I worked on, you could see the erupting volcano from your table. Countless people a genuinely great experience eating what I made them (the scenery helped). When I think about some great times I've had, a lot of time they involve food.
post #14 of 28
I started in this business because I needed a job and and one was available where my friend worked. I found I had a knack for it. I love the actual tasks of cooking. Having to be hyper aware of what's going on and being able to act and react and a frenetic pace. I love the planning and preparation. I love the creativity.

I am spoiled. I am the master of my world because I own the restaurant that I chef at. That's the not so fun part but I know I must pay those dues to have the freedom in the kitchen I crave. It's worth it. Plus, a wise man told me long ago "you won't make real money working for someone else". That's the other part I love
www.saltyskitchen.com

恵守 世羽棲知安
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www.saltyskitchen.com

恵守 世羽棲知安
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post #15 of 28
Hey Salty, just linked onto your blog and read it. Good stuff. As the owner of my own place for 12 years, I could definitely relate to it. Whew...memories.

I actually make more money working for other people than I did working for myself. The other people don't know how to do my job, so they pay good.
Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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post #16 of 28
Nothing quite satisfies my soul like seeing an empty plate come back from the dining room.

Like Salty i get to be master of my world (except when she who must be obeyed is in) Time between the stainless is usually relagated to one or two hours a day. But for those few hours nothing makes me happier.
Life is like Plastic Wrap!
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Life is like Plastic Wrap!
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post #17 of 28
I hate to beat the cliche but.......That's what I'm talking about!

Nice to see you Kaf.
www.saltyskitchen.com

恵守 世羽棲知安
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www.saltyskitchen.com

恵守 世羽棲知安
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post #18 of 28
I do it because I love, it because its my passion, my life , my purpose and because of these reasons I do it well. Thats why they pay me so well.
steve www.masterchefinfrance.com
post #19 of 28
I know a few trauma/ER nurses, and when they get together its nothing but complaints about patients, doctors and surgeons, administration, ect. I think a lot of chefs complain as a form of venting, because good ones don't take frustration out on staff - front or back of the house.
With both professions, it's a true calling. Teaching is very similar. Talk to some nurses or teachers that have been doing it a while, they'll probably tell you they can't fathom life without the ER or classroom. No true chef can imagine life without a kitchen.
post #20 of 28
I beleive Just Jim said it all. I myself do it because I love it. Im not looking for fame and fortune, but recconition for what I do is the best bonus for me. The accomplishment of making people happy and the fact that I get paid for doing it makes it even better. Yes all of us work long hours, its HOT, work weekends and holidays, but if you love, truely love what your doing then nothing else matters. The money will come the respect you will get, but you have to earn it, being a chef takes hard work, dedication and failure is not an option attitude. The stress of the momment is what drives me. The energy of the kitchen and the fact that everyone works together to accomplish the same goal even if we are mad at each other before the rush of the crowd. We all have our own reasons for doing what we do, you need to find out why you want to be a Chef. If your reasons are for fame and fortune, respect, T.V. and book deals you will be disapointed and will feel that you have wasted your time and money going to culinary school.
post #21 of 28
I do it because I love cooking, I love creating and I love hearing that people enjoyed my food.

Pay cna be rough, the job can be rough, there are many days when I feel like I hate my job, but as soon as a first time customer decides to order one of my specials that I just created, I get excited. That feeling right there tells me I love what I do, despite what stress is capable of.
post #22 of 28
Thread Starter 
.....................................again, thanks for all your replies
post #23 of 28
Because I can't hit the curve ball.....
post #24 of 28
Can you provide tips on cooking so that it will be useful even for ladies also.
post #25 of 28
when you don't know what love is

when you find it you know

when you don't know your calling or what you should do with your life, when you find that you'll know.

I complain about it and at times do believe my job is especially stressful, lol but, it's just me.

I've tried to do many other things...to make sure cooking is what I wanted to plunk down money on an education for... but the job that both satisfies me and challenges me the most...is cooking. There's also this special feeling you have when you are confident with how well you do you job and working really hard for you money gives you. I've given up opportunities to make double and triple of what I'm making as a cook and I was bored to tears at those office jobs and fact is...those jobs too, take a high level of dedication and interest.
On top of that I feel much more respected and confident as a cook than i do in my white collar clothing pretending to know what I'm doing and schmoozling over fake a$$ed clients.
I've found out that no matter what job I picked for myself...you kinda have to be the job. Unless of course you're a telemarketer or secretary but everything else with a path has to be you. Afterall, to be really successful with your job I believe you have to be ABLE to give it your all and if you're not interested you're just not gonna be happy.

o, and somebody once told me they don't call it work for nothing. If you liked everything about your job it'd be called fun.
If you're uncertain I would try out several jobs that you may be interested in and then go back to school... good luck :rolleyes:
post #26 of 28
I do it for several reasons,
1. At first it was to rebel against everything my family wanted for me, I was 16...
2. A love for the "high" you get while working the line on a slammed night
3. A love for all things food from the field to the table
4. A sense of accomplishment and satisfaction that I have never been able to get anywhere esle when you see someone smile after eating something you created
5. The lifestyle, Im a twisted one ;)
6. Where esle can you go to get paid to play with sharp object and fire?
7. The commeraderie
8. As I've gotten older, the ability to always work and never go hungry...
Taste: The sensation derived from food, as interpreted thru the tongue to brain sensory system.
Flavor: The overall impression combining taste, odor, mouthfeel and trigeminal perception.
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Taste: The sensation derived from food, as interpreted thru the tongue to brain sensory system.
Flavor: The overall impression combining taste, odor, mouthfeel and trigeminal perception.
Reply
post #27 of 28
why do i do it?

free high end food, all the time.
post #28 of 28
i do it because I love it,all the things that everybody else said taking these amazing raw ingrediants and transforming them into something totally different and amazing , using these wonderful creative skills and talents that i have been blessed with
I love everything about food from start to finish,
i went off and did other things for a while and it was when i came back to food and cooking that I realised I missed it so very much and couldnt think of anything else that i would rather do in my life for the rest of my life than work with food
when life hands you lemons, make lemon gelee, lemon meringue pie, or any other dessert your heart desires

www.theunknownchef.com
www.theunknownchef.co.nz
www.shoebridge.co.nz
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when life hands you lemons, make lemon gelee, lemon meringue pie, or any other dessert your heart desires

www.theunknownchef.com
www.theunknownchef.co.nz
www.shoebridge.co.nz
Reply
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