If the intetion is to work on the line, one day work as a chef, then yeah its the reality.
I have never celebrated Christmas, New Years, Easter, My and other family members birthdays in general. Today i missed my little 7 year old cousins birthday. Family gatherings too.
To me a holiday and a regular day are no different.
Call me on my day off that i´m down for anything, call me when im working, well you can call me, i just won´t answer 90% of the time....
Cooks are like pirates, we should be loyal to our captain and loyal to our ship. If you are a cook and have some intention of becoming a chef or making a good reputation for yourself, prepare to work hard, long days, sweat, maybe bleed, maybe cry, go through some amazing wonderful and beautiful moments as well as crazy, scarey and bad ones.
Kitchens contain stories, beautiful, nice, funny, stupid you name them.
Your friendships will most likely involve people that work in the field, because in general if they don´t work in the field they will just not understand. My friends.... well the ones that work don´t with food or hospatility are great. We speak everynow and then, maybe go out for coffee, have a gathering once in a blue moon.
The ones that work(ed) with me, yes we are/were all co-workers and we are also friends, in and out of service. Of course there are co-workers that think your competition, but i have learned that the majority are great people. My friends that work with food, they are amazing, and it´s good to form great bonds with them, because in some occasion you see them more then family.
Sicks days exist... especially because if your in risk of contaminating food or others, you shouldnt be in the kitchen. Of course though don´t expect to avoid working because you have a head ache, a cut on your finger, or some back pain or stomach pain.
I have worked after having stitches done (6 stitches on my righ wrist), wrapped that thing in seran wrap and off to work. I have worked with back pains, and i have worked with a broken right elbow. Not because i had to, but because i wanted to, and didnt need someone screwing up my station. I was just as functional with the broken elbow as anyone else...
Plus if i had to stay home, i would have been bored out of my mind.
What i love about the industry, is the people i have met. The networking, the connections, the great cooks that becamse my friends.
The food i have been able to produce, the food i have been able to taste, and the things i learned including about food and techniques.
This industry allows the opportunity to travel. Of course there are visa issues, but being honest, the world is full of illegal cooks working BOH producing great food and trying to get some experience. The number of people working around the globe with dubious resident issues in kitchens is pretty big. But it hasn´t stopped anyone from attempting international opportunities.
Working in another country, learning about a new cuisine and culture, is amazing.
The advantages of the industry are that. You work, you make money (not a lot sometimes, especially in the beginning), you learn a trade, you never go hungry, and the opportunity to travel exists.
Aside from the professional opportunities involving networking and making a name/rep for yourself.
Yes you can travel, yes you can cook, YES YOU CAN DO BOTH AT THE SAME TIME. What varies are the conditions and factors involving the equation.