Life After the Kitchen

Discussion in 'Professional Chefs' started by dirtywaterfrank, Jun 28, 2016.

  1. dirtywaterfrank

    dirtywaterfrank

    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    Professional Chef
    Sounds like a new reality show.

    Been in food service my entire adult life. CIA grad, 1996. Recently going through some serious health issues that will probably prevent me from returning to the kitchen. Fifty-two years old, can't go back to school. Thought about being a food writer/critic after culinary school. Also took some food styling classes many years ago. Tried my hand at sales for one of the big food service providers. Definitely not my thing. Wondering what my next step is.
     
  2. phaedrus

    phaedrus

    Messages:
    1,550
    Likes Received:
    121
    Exp:
    Professional Chef
    I feel for you, man.  I'm 47 and while I've been lucky to have avoided any serious health issues I know it can't last forever.  There's no Plan B for me either; I've been in the kitchen since I was 14, don't know any other way to live my life.
     
  3. the apostate

    the apostate

    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    Professional Chef
    Sorry to hear about your health issues, best of luck brother.

    Keep in mid that there are all kinds of kitchens out there. I'm in my mid fifties and I'm moving on myself. From turning and burning on the line to working at a long term health care facility. Maybe something similar could work for you?

    The hourly pay is a little less but the benefits are better, the hours are predictable, the pace is consistent, it's stable (it's not like people are going to stop getting sick), and no more idiot teenage servers to deal with.

    I'm told the lack of creativity is kind of a soul killer, but I help out with a friends catering business some weekends for that 
     
  4. dirtywaterfrank

    dirtywaterfrank

    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    Professional Chef
    Thanks.

    I did some time at a health care facility. It was a major change for me, better hours, slower pace, nicer clientele. Once I got passed the bland menu and lack of creativity, it really wasn't so bad.

    My issue now, is that I may not be able to work in any kitchen again because of my health. I may need to find work in the food industry outside of the kitchen. 
     
  5. liza

    liza

    Messages:
    88
    Likes Received:
    11
    Exp:
    Professional Chef
    No plan B here either. Shame of it is I love what I do, but I'm feeling old (50) too, and starting to question my sanity,

    Funny enough, I took a break and went the healthcare route too... Agree to soul killing, I felt myself die inside, but no doubt appreciated the schedule and benefits.

    Every time I swear I'll be found dead under a 50# bag of flour.

    What about the wine/liquor side Frank? If anyone knows what tastes good with what, it's us!
     
  6. lagom

    lagom

    Messages:
    1,073
    Likes Received:
    108
    Exp:
    Professional Chef
    I'm 51 and still daily in the kitchen but I also have a plan B. As a cancer survivor ( several years past) I released that my days were limited. I took the path of being an investor, mentor, inporter and distributor. I divested my restaurants, expanded my company to inport and distribution and went more contract and catering. I did and still do consider an additional option, education.

    If physically you could teach then maybe a path of training the next generation could be the way to go.

    Just a thought.

    I wish you the best and good health and fortune.
     
  7. lagom

    lagom

    Messages:
    1,073
    Likes Received:
    108
    Exp:
    Professional Chef
    For what it's worth I'm a western Pa boy myself. Cut my teeth in the 80's! at the Duquesne club. We probably chewed up some same ground at some point. Go New Castle.
     
  8. brewdog

    brewdog

    Messages:
    12
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    Professional Chef
    Does anyone have any cash? I love Colombia. It's so very beautiful. But their food is garbage. They need some tacos and Chinese food badly. 

    We could go down and make a killing just by serving street food on a cart. I have about 10 grand to invest, but I'm scared. It's a frightful thing to move to another country and open a business. I want to pull the trigger, but I guess doing it alone is just too much. 
     
  9. dirtywaterfrank

    dirtywaterfrank

    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    Professional Chef
    Never thought about the wine/liquor side of the business. Never thought of myself as the wine guy. Something to look into, though. Unfortunately, at this moment in my life, because of my recent health issues, alcohol is off limits to me also. 
     
  10. dirtywaterfrank

    dirtywaterfrank

    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    Professional Chef
    Brewdog, a little taqueria on the beach sounds like a fantastic idea. I would like nothing more than creating flavorful tacos and serving them in a relaxed atmosphere. Why Colombia? Do you have ties down there? Maybe a little closer to home. Tell me more.
     
  11. kettle chef

    kettle chef

    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    Professional Chef
    I'm a 33 year old chef. Iv spent my life wondering if chasing this dream is actually worth it? But there is something that makes me not want to stop. I have physical attributes that will work against me once I hit at least 40. I have been thinking about my next step as well. The intensity and passion will be the one thing I will miss. Although I am the last of a dieing breed. Iv been raised by some of the best but at some point when do you walk away from it?
     
  12. rndmchef

    rndmchef

    Messages:
    105
    Likes Received:
    12
    Exp:
    Line Cook
    Last of a dying breed??

    I'm in my mid 20's and start work 45-60 minutes before I clock in, just about everyday. I consistently am helping others with there work and rarely even take a shift meal; a break (on or off the clock) is not in my vocabulary.

    I work with others my age or younger with 3 line cook jobs, 80-90 hours a week. ...

    I think this is how this industry is defined and how it will continue for a while....
    Albeit; I have a friend my age who routinely takes home $200 or more in a 10 hour shift, mostly in cash on the spot...
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2016
  13. lagom

    lagom

    Messages:
    1,073
    Likes Received:
    108
    Exp:
    Professional Chef
    As an owner I have to ask why you start working 45 to 60 minutes before you clock in?
     
    flipflopgirl likes this.
  14. dirtywaterfrank

    dirtywaterfrank

    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    Professional Chef
    Yes, owners would not understand.

    Sometimes we feel that the minute we clock in, we are behind. So we start early to make up for it. I don't know when it started, but I have been doing it as long as have been cooking. It's just a way to stay ahead of the game. 
     
  15. cheflayne

    cheflayne

    Messages:
    4,123
    Likes Received:
    485
    Exp:
    Professional Chef
    Some owners (that rose up among the ranks) understand the mentality but that doesn't mean that they agree with it or feel it is necessary. I knew how long each and every job in my restaurant took because at some point I had done it myself. I didn't expect everyone to be as quick as I might be at it, so I always factored extra time to accomplish the tasks required.

    If someone didn't feel that enough time was allowed to properly do the job it was due to one or two (or a combination of the two) reasons. Reason number one, they were inefficient. Reason number two, they wanted to be more ahead of the game than I did and product got wasted.
     
  16. lagom

    lagom

    Messages:
    1,073
    Likes Received:
    108
    Exp:
    Professional Chef
    Well before I was an owner I was an employee, and it's up to the management/owner to schedule to meet the needs of the business. To expect/continue to permit hourly employees to work off the clock is unethical to say the least and illegal in any case that I can think of.

    If you're working 80 plus hours a week plus another hour a day for free, without meals or a break then you're not doing yourself or anyone other than than the owner any favors. Quite frankly it's owners that should be caring for our personal b
     
  17. cheflayne

    cheflayne

    Messages:
    4,123
    Likes Received:
    485
    Exp:
    Professional Chef
    What??? You mean at some point you actually worked!!! /img/vbsmilies/smilies/eek.gif  
     
  18. lagom

    lagom

    Messages:
    1,073
    Likes Received:
    108
    Exp:
    Professional Chef
    The good old days when I did my 12 hours and was done for the day. Now I'm on duty 24/7. 😒
     
  19. chefross

    chefross

    Messages:
    2,698
    Likes Received:
    364
    Exp:
    Former Chef
    Hello kettle chef and welcome to ChefTalk.

    Physical attributes will work against you once you hit 40?

    Is that the magic number.....?

    Heck, I'm at 61 with health issues from working those long shifts on bad floors and arthritis.

    I am stiff each morning and must stretch if I'm ever going to make it through the day.

    Facing back surgery down the road but for now I just keep on keepin' on.
     
  20. liza

    liza

    Messages:
    88
    Likes Received:
    11
    Exp:
    Professional Chef
    I'm actually feeling a bit better about my physical condition! My friends are always telling me that I'm too young to be feeling this old and incapacitated and I tend to agree when I wake up and go through the laundry list of aches and pains and websites for special orthotics...
    Seems I'm right on schedule for the industry average
    And we do this why? Lol