How many professional chefs out there get benefits like health insurance or dental or 401K? Im sure this is different from corporate kitchens as opposed to single owner. i am just curious.
Benefits in the work place.
In some corporate places the bennies can be really good. A buddy of mine worked at a hospital and in the benefits were outstanding although the pay was subpar. Sadly in my experience the benefits for chefs generally aren't that good. In all my years I have never worked somewhere that offered better insurance (for instance) than I could get just by shopping for myself.
When I "gave up" the restaurant life, at least temporarily, one of the reasons was for better benefits. I work in institutional food service now, and, from a financial standpoint, I am much better off than when I was in the restaurant world. Not only are the benefits a heck of a lot better, I get paid a lot better also. On top of those things, I don't often work late into the evening or on weekends although I do occasionally. In general my weeks are 40-50 hours. Again, that is the norm, but there have been stints of 70-90 hour weeks. But I have given up virtually all creativity and a sense that I really run the place. I left the restaurant world behind due to burn out, and because I didn't want to be like most my mentors who missed out on watching their kids grow up. I imagine that someday, I will go back to the restaurant world, although with every year that passes it gets harder to think about giving up my nights and weekends again, and I wonder if physically I can do it again.
I recently just ditched my corporate job with amazing benefits, good pay - but the chef just didnt give a damn. I staged at a new restaurant for Marcel Vigneron ( i didnt know who he was at this point) and thought Id work part time for him. I am so incredibly happy, that ditching the benefits was worth it. I dont have kids, Im young and can afford to lose those benefits to get more experience.I guess it just depends on who you ask.