Staff member
Joined Oct 7, 2001
Alright, time to get serious for a minute. I have a question that maybe some of you can help me out with. The woman I am dating is probably the woman I will marry. I want to have kids some day, the whole nine yards. But, how do you find the time for family in this business unless like my parents, we lived above the restaurant. I mean I work 10-16 hrs. a day 5-7 days a week. Where do you find the time to raise a family and be a good parent while trying to run a successful restaurant? Is it possible or should I move into the world of corporate chefdom? I would love to hear from anyone who has dealt with this situation.
Joined May 14, 1999
God Bless you Pete! Okay, serious it is. I have been chef-ing for 23 years now and have a very impressive resume, but all that changed when I had my daughter (now four years old). I sobbed all the way to work when she stopped me on my way out the door and asked me to please stay home and play a game with her. I sold out and became a corporate chef: I now get two days off each week: one for the wife and one for the daughter, and I'm as happy as can be (and so are they).

You know what Pete? Being a loving father and husband has made me a much better chef! I have learned to tolerate the human side of my employees; I have learned to show my coworkers some measure of the same affection I show my daughter. They have returned it to me in spades!

In any contest between career and family, family always rules! Your children need a Daddy much more than your kitchen needs a chef. Place as much effort into your marriage as you do into your kitchen and you will be rewarded in ways you never dreamed of. Do not worry about the money or anything else. These things will take care of themself. Life is fleeting. How do you want to be remembered? If you were asked to write your obituary now, what things would you like to say about yourself? He was a great chef? I doubt that would be mentioned at all.

You have the God-given opportunity to make a difference in the life of a wonderful woman and future child. Do not blow it.
Joined Jun 4, 1999
I HAVE BEEN in the business for over 20 years well lets say all mylife as my father was a chef and when I was young I made a promise that I would never become a chef..because I never saw my make matters worse my mother was a nurse who worked night shift so I didnt see her much either....wel I became a chef and married a nurse!!! You have to make sure you have family support to help out because just because you say you will finish at a certain time does not mean a thing..the kids missed us and there were times when it would have been easy to stay home with the family but I knew the kitchen was busy is not easy to pull off but I always made sure I had at least one day off a week to spend with my husband and the other day off to do stuff with the kids..and I mean real quality time no matter how tired you are or how many new menus you have on your mind...this is their day ..the other thing we did was get a young girl she worked 3-5 days a week and basically she was someone to be home for when the kids got home from school...very important!!..and to help with schoolwork ..go shopping...and do a bit of housework...basically she was to be there as the kids mentor and we had her for 10 years....soooo lucky...until she went overseas to thing we learnt was the kids arent interested in what a **** of a day you've had once youre home you,re there for them.


Founder of
Staff member
Joined Oct 5, 2001
The main reason that I left the business to go back to school was because of the family issue.
After I came back from Europe I was working around Chicago and took a long hard look at my friends who were in the business that also had families. The business takes so much away from the quality time you can give to your family. The more I watched them and how they interacted with their families the more it seemed that the family came second and the restaurant first. Never home for dinner with the wife and kids, and when you are home it is time to catch up on the work around the house.
It is a tough call, but if you love what you do you will find another way around (as they say). Those same friends that I was talking about later went on to go into teaching or consulting.
You can be a chef and have a family, but sooner or later something has to give. Just be willing to compromise.

[This message has been edited by Nicko (edited June 24, 1999).]
Joined Apr 20, 2007
I'm so lucky to have parlayed my skills into a business that allows me to have my family on premiss if I want it.

When my son was younger about 6 to 8 had a shop in Pennsylvania. I dropped him off at school and went to open, I closed for "lunch" around the time he got out and went to pick him up, and would bring him to the shop.

I had a table for him to do his homework and since I was at a small "strip" mall catty corner from the school I didn't have to spend to much time away from the shop.

My daughter was about 8 years older and on the weekends when I had wedding cakes she would stay with him until I got home, then it was her time to be a "teenager".

When you work in the food service industry, you do need a very supportive family, Because you will actually be working on Holidays and their special days.

Holidays were spent working extra hours, not only to take care of my clients orders but making goodies for my "LARGE" family in New York!
Joined Feb 19, 2007
So Pete, What did you end up doing?

Im in a sticky spot. Im jsut starting out my Culinary career and this is what I want to do but I jsut got married and going to start a family in a few years. I got a decent IT job but I hate it. I need to figure out do I stay at a job that will give me family time but be miserable or do I do what makes me hapyp and find time for the family.

Ahh thats life.
Joined Nov 19, 2007
The short answer is that it is never easy. I have six kids and a very forgiving wife. She knew when she married me that this was the life she was signing up for. Nights, weekends and holidays are dedicated to the business. I try to spend as much quality time with my kids as possible. Play catch with the boys, watch Dora the Explorer with the girls and take them out for family outings on my days off. Make the time that you do have with them memorable and they will appreciate it more. I would love to have two days off a week to spend with my family, but it is just not reality in this business. If the corporate thing is what you want to do, then do it. Just make sure that you really want it, because five years down the road when you regret making that decision, you will resent your wife for it. If she really loves you, she will support you no matter what your career decisions are.
Joined Feb 21, 2007
As a child my dad was in the submarine service. He was gone 6mos out of the year. My mom was constantly stressed because she was like a single mom with two kids. We moved every 9-12 months. I lost all my friends each time. We were poor and we lived in crappy military housing. It was the best years of my life. The one negative thing that sticks with me from the time I was a teenager to today was that my dad didn't like his job, more than that he didn't believe in what he was doing. That above all things pained me.

There is alot of focus on what we give kids in the early years, how ideal of a world we want to creat for them. I believe the greatest thing to give kids is a good example. Something that they can live their life by. Yes you work long hours, and hard physical labor, but you probably love what you are doing. Someday your kids will face the same choices and as long as they were raised in love they will thing back on their childhood with nostalgia.

Ok in an ideal world, but I do believe in it. That being said this business is harsh on relationships let alone family. This is why there are so few women chefs. However with creativity and a love for all aspects of your life the industry does allow for families.

1. Seasonal work - some seasonal resorts are summer/winter only but many pay the head chef through the year.
2. As someone already mentioned coporate jobs. 9-5 5 days a week. (good money and insurance too)
3. Own your own business.
4. Create a kid friendly atmosphere: don't gasp. I have had several chefs whos kids visited in the calm hours of prep before service. They were always a joy to have around and they learned very quickly to be safe and not get hurt, as they get older they begged to let me let them peel shallots.

When my son was born we opened up our own place. I think it was the best solution for me. He slept in the office when he was very little. Now he is three1/2 and "earns" coins by bussing plates and silverware from the tables. And yeah its tough, I always tired at the end of the day. But the mornings are times for us. Yes I get stressed and sometimes it is 7 days a week but hes got toys in the office and the park is close by so my "break" is spent at the slides. I hope when he grows up he will have good memories. (and I can threaten him: If you dont' do your math homework you will have to work in the bakery your whole life...heh...heh). And If I am really lucky he go to become a.....plumber or actor, or poet, or miner, anything but a chef!
Joined Feb 19, 2007
I always find it funny that no one wants there child to be a chef.


Im still working on flowing into the Culianry world. I want to gain experience and work part time while I can before the family thing kicks in. Then Ill have to figure it all out from there. When this IT ship sinks atl east ill have a culinary career ahead of me.

Im working on fnding a IT job closer to home to be home more often I think taht is a key part.

The plan is to eventually have my family help me with my own resturant. but the future is so bright and so wide open and we (the wife and I) have to many open ends right nwo to really "plan" anything.

well all see what happens
Joined Oct 10, 2005
I have three kids under the age of the time my day or 2 comes
around....I'm bushed......I run 5 outlets in a hotel resort and although I have
a great staff in all outlets....its still hard......saving grace is the mornings...
I usually am not to work until 9am or so....bad part is I'm not home til 9pm
or so.......I spend what time I can and try and divide time between each of
my children and wife separately.....add in the fact that my wife's first language is not english and it really becomes a circus.....I'm often a little jealous of those with monday thru friday 9-5 jobs......I don't know if I could ever be happy in one of those jobs...but I'm often jealous.....for me, ultimately things go like this......#1 my health....#2 my family...#3 my work...
I would drop work in a heartbeat if it meant losing my wife or family.....choose wisely and good luck....remember...its not the worst kind of existence....just a little different.....oh! one more thing....the older you get the harder it gets......go figure......
Joined Aug 11, 2000
for those of you that are new and hadn't noticed the original post was in 1999.....Pete married Wanda and.......?????


Staff member
Joined Jun 11, 2001
Pete's a proud Daddy now. Went from sleepless tired chef to sleepless tired chef daddy. :D
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