coping with this time

Joined May 10, 2013
hi everyone!
like most, i find myself in a downward spiral. that may be a tad dramatic but i do find myself unmotivated and feeling hopeless. I was a sous at a great restaurant, covid hit and it all went belly up. management basically dumped us and i found myself without a job for months. at first i was like "wow, i actually get a paid vacation this summer!" i tried finding the positives. then august comes around and i find this vacation way too long. found a cute gig thankfully pretty quick. created a brunch program for a local restaurant and did that. unfortunately, it was solely brunch and it was just 3 days of the week. i got picked up by a bigger place full time! i dropped my notice and began preparations to start the new place. harsher restrictions kick in and once again out of a job. i contact prior place and they decided to go take out only with one chef. its so defeating honestly. i live with depression and have struggled really hard early this year to the point where i was placed on anti-depressants for the first time ever. i recently started working at a bid box retailer just to work. i show up work hard but obviously i just don't care. i've always been blessed to be able to work in the restaurant industry and make a living out of it up until now.

how are you guys coping? what has helped you? i'm trying to find inspiration and hope. thanks in advance!
Joined Oct 31, 2012
see if there are cooking jobs available with a local hospital. They won't be shutting down. You may or may not like the work but you will have a job until this mess is over.
Joined Dec 23, 2004
I feel for you, alfrede. I'm in my early 50s and have spent my entire life in the kitchen. Up until a year ago I was the chef at a restaurant/bar in a historic building downtown but I quit and took a job as the chef for a nonprofit. It kind of saved my bacon because SARS-CoV-2 hit about five months after. They kept all of us on FT at our regular salaries and came up with home work (mostly social media and some office work). Still while getting paid is great there was a period of nearly six months where I didn't have any regular kitchen work to do, and honestly it's only been about two weeks that we're back doing our regular stuff (with limited programming, natch). It took a toll on my mood, too.

The best suggestion I have a stoic outlook and maybe 'urge surfing'. Remind yourself that is a bad time but it's just a moment, and moments end. As Chefwriter says, maybe look for a food service job in a necessary business. But probably that won't scratch the itch completely. I would just do some reading and research. Watch cooking stuff on YouTube. Pick up a couple new books on some elements of cooking you don't know much about. BBQ, ethnic food, molecular gastronomy, canning and pickling, etc- these might be things that will keep you engaged.

Most of all try to be ready to hit the ground running when this whole mess winds down.
Joined Dec 29, 2019
how are you guys coping? what has helped you? i'm trying to find inspiration and hope. thanks in advance!
Abraham Lincoln said he dropped to his knees when there was nowhere else to turn, thats how most people endure far greater hardship.

I was offered a cafe yesterday, neighbor wants to reopen a property he owns in town and put me in it.
Maybe in the spring, have to see how things go, but there are opportunities for the bold everywhere.
Used equipment is very cheap now.
Joined Nov 9, 2020
I was offered a cafe yesterday, neighbor wants to reopen a property he owns in town and put me in it.

It's a tempting offer, and as you said, equipment right now is cheap (although unless he sold all his fittings the lower cost of equipment shouldn't be the make/break)...

What you need is a solid business plan built on the current situation - anyone (OK, well, you know what I mean) can run a restaurant during normal times, it' takes a lot of imagination to figure out how to keep your cashflow up in these Covid times... and we may be in "these times" for well another year.

The question is WHY it closed, and the condition of his property he wants to put you in. We have a restaurant up the road from us that had "for rent" signs in the window... so I looked into it. Historic property, was a thriving concern for 2 generations. When the owner retired they sold all the equiipment and front end fittings, then decided they wanted to "rent it out" to someone to set up and run a restaurant. Their terms were ludicrous - High rents PLUS a percentage of the gross (not net), PLUS the tenant would have to re-equip the shop 100%, Rebuild the building at the tenant's cost, and THEN pay the property taxes. It's been empty (and further deteriorating) for years, and when I looked at it and heard "what a good deal" it was, I started laughing - I could start my own place from the ground up and spend less than to restore this former legend turned sad....

it my be a great opportunity to get a place going, but KNOW what you're getting into. There's a reason it was closed up before, and you don't want to duplicate the same mistakes whoever was in there before made.
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