Is it tough being a CHEF?

Thanks to FKW for bringing up a good topic. I believe there are many of you who toyed with the idea of working as a chef in some moment in your life... or at least those of you who love food! So what really help you to make up your mind? You childhood ambition? Your mum's terrific culinary skills (or the lack of it) inspired you? Your passion for cooking? Or you want to earn big bucks.. as seen on TV (no pun intended)?

In my case, it was none of the above but a strange twist of fate. For those who do not know (or are curious to know), here's my story before I carry on to answer FKW's query. As some of you my dear readers might know, I went to London to learn baking. Yes, I actually went to a Baking School. Not a culinary school. At the end of my two year course, me along with 4 other chosen schoolmates attended a summer school which showed us the different possibilities of F&B industry. We were brought to hotels, restaurants and kitchens. And we even got a taste of how it was like to run our own little "hotel". I being the over-enthusiastic kind made a huge impression on one of the course co-ordinators. And she found me a kitchen assistant position at Le Pont de La Tour restaurant (formerly under Conran restaurants)! Well, I cherished every single learning experience in the kitchen. It was wonderful and fulfilling but I eventually found it was not my calling. A faint voice in my head (no worries, I'm no Schizophrenic! Or maybe...I'm not sure) kept reminding me about Patissierie. And so, I am still a Pastry Chef!

So for all who are still undecided or just chanced upon the notion of "Chef" for the first time, let me help you along with a few questions:

  • How much do you LOVE cooking?
  • Can you endure hours standing on your feet? I mean at least 8 hours a day (or more depending on the establishment).
  • Do you live on adrenalin? (It keeps you going!)
  • Can you carry on working even if most of your fingers have cuts, sores, blisters, etc?
  • Can you work well in a team?
  • Can you stand the verbal abuses from waiters, head chefs, sous chefs (and basically everyone)?
  • Can you bear the thought of being a Commis or Apprentice (that means the lowest rank in the kitchen) for the next few years (maximum 5, depending on the company)?

Not to mention, you must have loud voice that commands respect.

If you answered positively to most of the questions above, you are on your way. Welcome to chefhood. Good luck!


FKW said...

Thanks for doing this post. Ya! all the question is a Go, but for the loud voice question.. Well, I haven't really decided which position to be focus on.. will do some research on it. Keep on updating your blog, looking forward for your next post.

SheR. said...

You're welcomed :)
Oh well.. in this line of work, you basically grab whatever chances are thrown at you. Every single work experience is valuable. Maybe sometimes it's for free!

Good luck!