Sunday, November 22, 2009

A chef, who'd want to be one?

As I lay in bed at 3.45am last night I had actually written this blog post in my head. However that was 5 hours ago and things in the middle of the night when sleep deprived from continually getting up to settle Jett, always seem much worse. It was a rant. I was pissed. I'm getting over it already though.

Kym's back at work and is doing CRAZY hours. Not crazy like before, but CRAZY CRAZY. Like 7 or 8am until 3am. WTF? There have been a few articles lately in various publications like the Sunday Mail, Courier-Mail, GT, and Brisbane Times, all raving about the architecture, the food, the produce. Yay... However my 'yay' as I lay there last night worrying if he's crashed his car on the way home due to sleeplessness, switching between worry and anger over something that sometimes in my opinion (and much to Kym's horror) is 'only food', had definitely fizzled.

These are lovely parts of cheffing - the stuff that's not always so glamourous, and the stuff that isn't usually portrayed clearly on shows like Masterchef. Like seriously, who in their right mind would want to become a chef? Work anywhere from 60-95 hours, getting paid for maybe 38 of them, in a super stressful, and in Summer time, usually 40+ degree kitchen? Waiting on suppliers who are supposed to bring your food in the morning, and decide to send it in one hour before service time instead. Not me.

And you need a thick skin - having worked in hospitality as a waitress before I've seen chefs pushing around apprentices, throwing plates at them (of course Kym would never do this), another one used to be really hard on one particular apprentice only to turn around and tell people when he wasn't there that he was the 'best apprentice I've ever had and don't want to him leave'!

Neither Jett or my unborn, or for that matter any niece or nephew, is allowed to become a chef. They can learn how to cook, maybe work in hospitality to earn some cash while on their way to something else, but that's as far as it goes. I still think it's important to know how to cook, and to learn about foods, what they are, what they do for us. I certainly don't want him to be like one checkout I had the other day at the supermarket who asked me 'what is this', and I looked up thinking it must have been a 'fancy' vegetable I had purchased - no, it was the common 'zucchini'. Perhaps I should have confused her and said it was a 'courgette'??? he he

It's insane. Only a very select few will ever become great - I know that's harsh, but it's true. Those small percentages are the ones whose hard work pays off. Luckily we're in the latter, but that still doesn't excuse you from working six days a week and only seeing your family on Sunday's (which by that time you are a walking zombie anyway!). Aagh! So needless to say you need to have passion - as Kym told one 'would-be-apprentice' the other day - you can teach speed and knifeskills, but you can't teach passion and that's why I'm giving you a go.

OK I think I'm over it. I know there are a lot of thankless jobs out there, and I have friends and family together who have husbands who also have great jobs which still take them interstate or overseas on a regular basis, and that's hard too. I'm just ranting about the one I live with.

So if one more person asks how's the restaurant going I might explode with a few expletives of my own - giving my lovely husband a run for his money in the language department :p


CurlyPops said...

I feel your pain... I worked in hospitality for years while studying (and utterly hated it - fake smiles and being forced to be nice to rude customers). My sister is a chef, but she got out of the hustle and bustle and moved into catering instead to get away from the crazy hours.
I hope you are both able to find a balance soon!

Christina Lowry said...

Goodness, I can see why you were ready to rant! Best wishes with everything. And I promise not to ask about the restaurant or say how great it would be to have a chef for a husband! Mine can really only cook one meal - Singapore Noodles.


Hot Fudge said...

Being experienced in the restaurant business, I can fully sympathise. I lasted exactly one night in a waitressing job waaaay back in my youth when I needed some extra savings to get overseas. I thought it would be so easy. I was so wrong.

edward and lilly said...

I hear you on this one, thank heavens the big love made a career change last year because I was sick to death of hearing hospitality politics every single day for 9 years.

Oh, and I once had a container of biscotti thrown at my head by a chef - I quickly learnt how to deal with them and manipulate them to make me nice meals on breaks.

Cindy said...

I know that I shouldn't laugh at your pain, that is not being a very nice blog firned but I did have to chuckle a little. It sounds so crazy when you actually write it on paper doesn't it. What can you do when you follow you passion

jenny said...

Hey I will never be at there place and for the same thing. Thanks for all invitations and post that you have provided us here.


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