Why did I chose to become a chef? This is a question that I get often. It is a question I never really had an answer to. Many stories of chefs usually involve becoming turned onto food and cooking at a younger or sometimes later age by their mother or grandmother figure whom often cooked memorable meals that inspired them to immerse themselves in such a world. Some, however, have had troubled lives early on and found something that they love in cooking and turn that into a career.
I find that I had a very different approach and reasoning for becoming interested in culinary arts. In a way, I believe sports played a major role in the development of interest I have had for becoming a chef. I spent my entire young life from kindergarten through my senior year in high school playing several sports at a competitive level. There is something about competition that gets my heart racing and my blood flowing. Nothing gives me more enjoyment than competition. Everything from preparation and practice to the real deal of performing and playing in a game. I tend to believe there are many similarities between competitive sports and culinary art careers.
In sports, there is practice and preparation that leads up to a game. In the kitchen, there is preparing foods and equipment for service. The similarity is that praying and preparing for sports is strategic as you are doing what you can do to put yourself in the best position to win or succeed. In the kitchen, you prepare everything from cuts of vegetables and meats to sauces and even deciding where you will place those things as well as your utensils and equipment to give you the best possible chance to succeed during the dinner service.
In competitive sports, you sweat and wear down as the game goes on. In the kitchen, you sweat and wear down and become spare all over as service goes on and by the end of both you are exhausted and have a feeling of either success or failure.
In my mind, nothing compares to a good competitive grind of a game in sports like a dinner service in a popular restaurant. There are ups and downs, twists and turns, hearts racing, people yelling, scrambling around, and even possible breaks in action where you may have a chance of adjusting your strategic plan to come out of the break as a better team. Yes, there is also a team in the kitchen that will be right alongside you during battle sweating it out and giving it all they have in order for the whole unit to succeed.
So, why did I chose to become a chef? The answer is that competitiveness runs through my blood and it gives me the same level of enjoyment and takes similar levels of strategy and hard work to succeed as playing sports. This may be an unusual or unorthodox way of deciding on a career path but I believe it was the only path for me to take as I do not possess all the gifts of a professional athlete. I am a competitor and I often find a way to win, so I see no reason why I will not find a way to be successful in this industry.