As a working chef you sacrifice a lot as I have mentioned in earlier posts . But is it really a sacrifice or is it an investment?. When scouting for potential employers you need to make sure it is a good fit and not all about money…knowledge will pay, find the knowledge learn as much as you can in your formative years ..the payoff is or I should say can be huge ,you get back what you put in. Dont work hard and you will be sorely dissapointed and have only burns and cuts to show for nothing really but waste of your time. I like to say that I invest the most preciouos commodity that I have and that is my time, so far my investment is paying off.I would be a fold not to make that statement,I have traveled worked and lived in Sweden (born there) i lived and worked in Frankfurt Germany , Wellington New zealand ,Sydney Australia G’day mate!, Boston MA and Dallas I have met some extraordinary chefs and cooks and most of them I consider my friends even to this day. They all had a part in my formative years in changing and creating the chef I am today..yeah my investment is paying off alright and the greater my know how and skill set becomes the greater my pay off is .
Time lost with nothing gained is time wasted as simple as that. If the feeling of not achieving anything is nagging like a silent scream daily, you need to find that spark that will drive you towards the pay off and the success badly needed to get back on track again, speak with your managers or bosses and find a goal to work towards.I met a lot of people who sort of expect to make the big dollars right out of culinary schools, not the culinary students fault at all. It is the culinary schools fault for telling its students that once graduated they will be hired as sous chef’s or managers or supervisors and not be just a measly lowly little line cook…that is so wrong you need to start somewhere and a line cooks position is just that perfect start providing you have a great place to work in that you can see the potential of a big payof on your investment of time. As a line cook you hone your skills and become better at everything you learned in school daily, but you have to work hard at it,be bigger better faster and do more than anyone you work with, consistently. After having worked for a minimum of 5-8 years you might finally have the knowledge to get the dream job as a manager or soushef heck might even find a good Executive chef job but that might be pushing it.
Every single day we seek validation on what we do from those around us, in doing this it makes us better , stronger and more enthused to do an even better job and once you have the validation of your skills the self confidence just gets bigger and that is what drives your skill set towards being the best of the best.
As a chef one of the biggest validation of work done is that your food ends up on the menu ,not literally of course, because your boss thinks that it is that good or the comments and feed back received from the ones who make it all happen …your guests are that good. When a guest summons the chef into the dining room usually it is to give compliments and if you ever meet a chef who would tell you it does not feel good to hear that ….well honestly they are liars .We all feed of the good comments and feedback and some times the monetary recognition that follows, but that does not happen very often. For me the first time my menu idea ended up on the menu i felt invincible and was waiting for superstar chefs to call me but needless to say that never happened,but still that feeling of euphoria and invincibility made me believe I will only be better and my investment will be starting to pay off bit by bit piece by piece.
Recognition for a job well done is always good but is always better when it comes from your peers working with you day in and out and see the efforts you put forth consistently and daily over and over. For me the best recognition that validates my know how and skill set is when a younger culinarian hangs on every word I say and just want to hear more and do more with their career,That makes my job so much more fun.To me that is one huge pay off on my investment time spent with someone who really wants to do this …mind you when the pay increase comes along and my pocket gets lined with a few more dollars with a pat on the back with several thank yous from the big bosses while receiving awards at work yeah that kinda helps to….Thats when you know you have found your home for years to come.Thats when you know your investment have paid off.