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(Some Gal)   Professional chef discourages amateur cooks from profession. "Kitchens attract bullies because they've read Kitchen Confidential too many times or they think the Gordon Ramsay they see on TV is the real Gordon Ramsay. It's a joy to weed them out"   (dirtcandynyc.com) divider line 20
    More: Obvious, Kitchen Confidential, Gordon Ramsay, right-wing radio, chefs, cooking schools, Kitchens attract, basic skills, kitchens  
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4161 clicks; posted to Entertainment » on 13 Dec 2012 at 6:00 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-12-13 10:28:20 PM
5 votes:
As a working chef, yeah he's right. There are a fair amount of douchebags who see TV shows and think, "Yeah, that's what I want to do!" Because they figure that they can let their Inner Diva out.

Cooking competition shows frustrate me, because kitchens are about teamwork. They aren't about being a star, but being a cog. Garde manger, grill, saute, it all comes down to elements coming together. You prep, you share, you do the same dishes over and over again. Yes, you do some specials, you have your favorites, but you are still cutting mirepoix daily. You are making the same sandwiches, the same soups, the same prime rib, over and over again, because that's what professionals do: we are consistent and our clientele demands that consistency.

It is a weird profession. It's part art, it's craft, it's sometimes dangerous, it's sometimes monotonous, it's sometimes goofy, it's driven by folks who handle the repetition in all sorts of ways, often by being goofier and crazier than the idiotic times that you are being crushed by tickets, and can still manage a smile or four, and still flirt with waitstaff. It's not an easy profession. Fire! Sharp! Heavy! All the things that your mother tried to keep you away from when you were a kid, you are expected to play with, and use on a regular basis. You find your moments. For me, it is Zen practice. Mushin is achievable outside of martial arts practice. Mind without mind is a metaphor for the state when you get your groove on. Everything falls into place, you react without conscious effort, your hands know the work, your brain isn't juggling fifty brazillion things, you just do the job, and it all flows without effort.

It is a profession that you have to have some ego about. It's your food. It's your craft. You are selling your work, and folks enjoy it. There is satisfaction there. But you aren't alone. It's not just you, unless you're running a hotdog stand. There are folks all around you, and they are part of the whole thing with you.

And yeah, that means in this country, you'd best pick up some Spanish. And possibly some Tagalog if you have Filipinos near. Those wee bastiches work their tails off, do with huge smiles, and drink like fish and cook like Hell. Chefs aren't alone. They are executives who are also on the line. Show me a chef who isn't working in his own kitchen, I'll show you a guy who takes credit for his sous chef's hard work. You have to balance a LOT of factors, and chief among those are handling people. Not just your cooks and dishwashers, but waitstaff, bartenders, customers, distributors, suppliers, and service folks. You have to be a charming bastiche if you want to keep working in this business. You get a rep for being a mean SOB, that gets you some distance, but it doesn't get you distributors who will deliver on a Saturday when they normally don't have trucks out. It won't get a dishwasher to stick around when a toilet blows up. It doesn't get folks to go the extra mile for you. As a chef, you lead, hopefully by example. First one in, last one to leave. You do prep, you wash dishes, you put away orders, you take out the trash, you help move tables, you do it all, and make the coffee on occasion, and the folks around you notice that, and they don't kvetch when you ask them to do something that they see YOU do all the time. You balance personalities, you head off problems with staff ahead of time, not after. You are a counselor to your staff--especially the young ones. You are a role model to some, you are a mentor, you are hopefully friends and family with your crew. They back you. They are your team, and you treat that with the respect it deserves. It's not about just your ego, but shoring up the team so that they know that they're a part of something that is Awesome. That they contribute to it. Your dishwashers, your prep, your waitstaff, your grill, saute, garde manger, all of them make the place work. Please and thank you aren't niceties in this business, they are essential. It is about relationships, as much as the food. The food, is the vehicle. That is the reason we're together, but we make that together, and you forget that, and you won't last.

You want to cook for a living? Be ready for long hours, hard work, more hard work, a bit more hard work, some frustration, cuts, bruises, burns, sore muscles, more cuts, more burns, coffee belly, a possible nicotine addiction, a very possible close call with alcoholism, and if you're not careful, some hypertension. It's not an easy profession. Is it rewarding? I've been doing it for over 20 years now, and I wouldn't trade it for much else. When it's good, it's sublime. When you can create, and make a line work well, that means that you are fitting people into jobs that they like, they enjoy, that they are good at, and helping them develop those skills and make your place better at the same time. You are making memories, and folks may not remember the food, but they'll remember the times. And that goes for a great BBQ joint or haute cuisine. We make memories. I've done BBQ, I've done sports arenas, I've done high end, I've done family joints, and in the end, it's not so much about the art, as finding a place that fits you, and people who you can share with. Haute cuisine is gorgeous, but it's demanding, and that can be rewarding, but if the owner is a douche, then the job is miserable, and it's like having a great looking girlfriend who treats you like sh*t.

I like to do good work. I like to play, but that has a cost. That means that I have to do some hard work in the middle. That means roasting bones and making stock. Over and over again. That means cutting onions, carrots, celery, and chopping herbs until my hands are stained green--or at least the gloves are. It means being a professional, and being a professional means that you're not in it just for the fun parts where people clap and sing, but the times when stuff goes South, and you have to dig out, and if you are doing it right, you've got a team that is in it with you, shoulder to shoulder, and you haul each other out.

It's not for everyone. It's hard. It's rewarding, if you are slightly nuts, but that's part of the pride in the profession: not everyone can do what we do, and with as big a smiles at the end of the night.
2012-12-13 07:02:18 PM
2 votes:
See, I come from New Orleans. I was raised to be a saucier. Great saucier. Then I was supposed to go to Paris, study at the Escoffier school.
Then I got orders for my physical. Hell, I joined the Navy. Heard they had better food.

Cook school, that did it ... you don't want to hear about that.
2012-12-13 06:45:08 PM
2 votes:

Tatsuma: nothing like showing up on the food network, and I would rather not discuss this as that would make me pretty easy to identify for any internet detective out there, and considering the amount of hate mail/death threats I've had over the years, I am a bit sensitive about personal info making it out there on the web


If you don't want to talk about it, then don't talk about it. Having a "small claim to fame" that you refuse to talk about is the equivalent of having a hot canadian girlfriend.
2012-12-13 06:33:14 PM
2 votes:
Great article, thx for submitting it.

I've been in the industry for almost 20 years, started as a secretary at a distributor. Now I work for a manufacturer who and I sell my products to distributors and love I it. 

I work in about 5 kitchens a day and I can tell you that from my perspective there's someplace and something for everyone. There are good calm kitchens, clean kitchens (most of them are pretty clean), filthy disgusting kitchens, angry places that usually ask you to hold their check 'until Friday'.

And the jerks, bullies - they are out there, I have worked for them even in my part of the industry. But they often smell like alcohol regardless of the time of day. They will move on eventually, pretty quickly over the 20 years when I think about it, either by health issues or management. So I smile and wait for them to be gone. Then some other bully appears somewhere else...you'll always have one or two.

Seen it all.
2012-12-13 06:31:55 PM
2 votes:
This sounds like every career.

My first IT job was imaging and setting up computers in cubicles. It's all I did all day long. Eventually you move on to a better position as you gain more experience and show that you can work properly in a certain environment. Fast forward a decade (holy shiat I'm getting old), and now I work on stuff that pushes my education, creativity and intelligence to the limit. I'm mentally exhausted after some days but feel fulfilled because I was "great" at something I enjoy doing.

I liked how he brushed on being called "chef" though. When I first started I wanted nothing more then to have the title of Senior System Administrator/Engineer. Now that I have it I could really care less about my title, as I now want nothing more then to be a Chief Information Officer. My how time changes us! :)
2012-12-13 06:17:30 PM
2 votes:
Why would bullies flock to get abused?! You dont get to start at the top of the game you come in as a grunt and get treated as such.
2012-12-13 05:37:06 PM
2 votes:
As someone who worked at a shiatty on-campus restaurant for four years during college and a year afterwards, and who had a summer job working the line (salads and desserts) at a real restaurant, I have to agree with this guy. If you're going to be a chef, you need to learn to deal with, and enjoy, the monotony of four-five hours of prep followed by six hours of single-minded repetition. It's not exciting in the way it's made to be on TV. It's not about "showing your soul" or "treating the ingredients with respect" or other such bullshiat. It's about chopping onions and cutting chicken breast and cooking veggies and putting things on a damn plate.
2012-12-13 05:18:30 PM
2 votes:
First thing Gordon Ramsay does when he goes to speak at culinary schools and to other chefs is to start with: "Do not treat your staff like I do on television. This is entertainment, if you do this in real life you will lose all of your employees"
2012-12-14 08:23:13 AM
1 votes:
Fark has fallen to the trolls.


I left the politics threads for this exact reason, why do you let one farking dipshiat in the entirety of the internet, dominate the conversation.

If I believed everything this douche said, he'd have GOD (yup, spelled the whole thing, in caps even) as his biatch.

He's solved world peace, and cooked the bestest food ever -- He's [redacted]-- super troll.
2012-12-14 07:48:37 AM
1 votes:
hubiestubert saves the thread!
2012-12-13 07:11:30 PM
1 votes:

Tatsuma: And I am sorry if I sound like a condescending asshole


No you're not.
2012-12-13 07:09:13 PM
1 votes:

Tatsuma: Tatsuma: But I am now living in Israel, and I have had four people come up to me saying 'Wait a minute, are you X who did Y in Z? [insert conversation about that]', and Y is something I did in Z, North America.

(meaning, what I did in that place in North America in terms of signature dish was popular enough that almost two years later, some people from North America either traveling or living in Israel and casually hearing my name heard about it, which would make it really easy for an internet detective to put two and two together. as I said, on the other hand, in the grand scheme of things, it is a minor claim to fame)


No, we all get it, she's Canadian. It's cool bro.
2012-12-13 06:31:18 PM
1 votes:
That was a lot of words to say "Preparing food for people is a poor career choice."
2012-12-13 06:29:24 PM
1 votes:
I've never seen the "Hell's Kitchen" show Ramsay is notorious for, but I have seen and love his "Kitchen Nightmares" show, where he goes to failing restaurants and turns them around. He is definitely blunt in his assessments and demands everyone gives their best, but I've never seen him come down on someone who didn't deserve it, and he is usually pretty nice about it. He also is very complimentary to people who earn his respect. He reminds me of the best managers I've worked with, and I'd work with the guy in a second.
2012-12-13 06:20:07 PM
1 votes:

DaCaptain19: Show me a "chef" who can make a better burger or steak than I do on my own charcoal grill. And quit making burgers with "kobe beef" sh*t...$15 for a farking burger that isn't as good as mine, my ass.


You clearly have no idea what you are talking about. I mean, seriously you whine about a $15 kobe beef burger?

Again, fairly sure that Olive Garden is about as great a restaurant you've ever eaten at.
2012-12-13 06:19:31 PM
1 votes:
Is that one of those blog posts from someone in "the industry" like a waiter or chef? Listen, I don't give a fark about your feelings or what shenanigans or travails go on behind that kitchen door. I just want some good food and I'll pay you for it.

Make me my grub you slaves; maybe I'll give you the tip if I'm feeling particularly generous.
2012-12-13 05:58:25 PM
1 votes:
"The whole cinema industry is boring as shiat, I've never had to fetch as many coffees, stand around doing nothing or do boring shiat as I did for those 3 years, not worth it' - PA to 2nd unit director commenting on Hitchcock
2012-12-13 05:55:31 PM
1 votes:

Tatsuma: Rincewind53: As someone who worked at a shiatty on-campus restaurant for four years during college and a year afterwards, and who had a summer job working the line (salads and desserts) at a real restaurant, I have to agree with this guy. If you're going to be a chef, you need to learn to deal with, and enjoy, the monotony of four-five hours of prep followed by six hours of single-minded repetition. It's not exciting in the way it's made to be on TV. It's not about "showing your soul" or "treating the ingredients with respect" or other such bullshiat. It's about chopping onions and cutting chicken breast and cooking veggies and putting things on a damn plate.

... you're the equivalent of man who paints houses as a living saying that Michelangelo's job was boring.

No offense, but what you are doing is a job at, as you said yourself, working at a shiatty on-campus restaurant and working line at what was most likely the equivalent of an Olive Garden.

That's not what a chef is, or does. You're not doing it because it's a passion for you either, or because you have the training for it.

You're really not qualified to talk about what being a chef is as a career, no offense.

/worked in restaurants most of life since I was 16
//actually went to culinary school
///worked in proper restaurants
////monotony? what on earth are you talking about?


"Mr. Hooper, I'm not talkin' about pleasure boatin' or day sailin'. I'm talkin' about workin' for a livin'. I'm talkin' about sharkin'!"
2012-12-13 05:55:04 PM
1 votes:
And I am sorry if I sound like a condescending asshole, but trust me, none of my friends still working in that world would agree with you, and agree 100% with what I said.

I don't mean to be rude, but you haven't got a clue if you think that what you've experienced is anything like what it is in the real culinary world. Look, I have also worked those jobs that you are talking about early on, therefore I can sympathize, but as I said, you're the culinary equivalent of a $10/hour house painter.
2012-12-13 05:52:30 PM
1 votes:

Rincewind53: As someone who worked at a shiatty on-campus restaurant for four years during college and a year afterwards, and who had a summer job working the line (salads and desserts) at a real restaurant, I have to agree with this guy. If you're going to be a chef, you need to learn to deal with, and enjoy, the monotony of four-five hours of prep followed by six hours of single-minded repetition. It's not exciting in the way it's made to be on TV. It's not about "showing your soul" or "treating the ingredients with respect" or other such bullshiat. It's about chopping onions and cutting chicken breast and cooking veggies and putting things on a damn plate.


... you're the equivalent of man who paints houses as a living saying that Michelangelo's job was boring.

No offense, but what you are doing is a job at, as you said yourself, working at a shiatty on-campus restaurant and working line at what was most likely the equivalent of an Olive Garden.

That's not what a chef is, or does. You're not doing it because it's a passion for you either, or because you have the training for it.

You're really not qualified to talk about what being a chef is as a career, no offense.

/worked in restaurants most of life since I was 16
//actually went to culinary school
///worked in proper restaurants
////monotony? what on earth are you talking about?
 
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