Need advice from experienced Chefs please

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Joined May 30, 2018
Greetings fellow cooks! I've been struggling with something for a while a just wanted some help. I've worked in restaurants my whole life, I'm 34 and I've been cooking seriously for over a decade. I've been to culinary school, worked in Michelin starred restaurants and worked with James Beard Award winning chefs, worked in a lot of really good restaurants and over time I've become an excellent cook. I love to cook for other people but I hate working in restaurants and I've never met a happy Chef; they are usually angry and unhappy and drink a lot. I've been a sous chef several times and absolutely hated it. Way too much stress and I never got to be creative, terrible pay, never got any time off. All in all ive gotten really good at cooking but i really dont think i want to be a restaurant chef but then I think "maybe if I'm an exec chef I won't be on the line as much and I can create more so it will be worth it. " Im wondering should i try to stick it out as a chef and do what i love but be stressed out and unhappy? Or should i just try to start another career? Also is the private chef or culinary instructor a good way to go? Thanks in advance
 
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Joined Mar 1, 2017
This is a decision that only you can make.

But, I will say one thing. Anything good that has ever happened to me in this business has happened because I made it happen.

Be honest with yourself and the answer will come. :)

Good luck.
 
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Joined Oct 1, 2006
Hi HC,

Sounds like you have good chops and a good resume! Here is your chance to get creative! You know the industry well enough to understand most of its permutations. I also have faith that you will find a way to use your expertise to your advantage.

Everything from "consultant" to a food truck. If you are single and like to travel you have even more options!

I have a friend that runs the food program for the fleet of aircraft of an oil company. Nice gig for him, he loves it! (Not if you are over six feet tall though!)

I do have the impression you would be happier if you have your own gig.
 
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Joined Sep 26, 2017
Judging from the attitude you show in your writing, another career might be worth a try.

I don't think you would feel any happier as an executive chef.

Attitudes is paramount in the success, both professionally and personally, of a chef.
 
7
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Joined May 30, 2018
Awesome thanks for the feedback guys I appreciate it. I love to cook and I can't find that feeling in other jobs... which can be ok I guess. I've worked so hard for so long and it sucks to put the brakes on that . I'm moving to Denver soon so I'll be exposed to much more opportunities for creative chefs there. I would love a private chef gig or even doing pop ups. Anyway I appreciate it guys keep on Rockin!
 
7
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Joined May 30, 2018
Hi HC,

Sounds like you have good chops and a good resume! Here is your chance to get creative! You know the industry well enough to understand most of its permutations. I also have faith that you will find a way to use your expertise to your advantage.

Everything from "consultant" to a food truck. If you are single and like to travel you have even more options!

I have a friend that runs the food program for the fleet of aircraft of an oil company. Nice gig for him, he loves it! (Not if you are over six feet tall though!)

I do have the impression you would be happier if you have your own gig.
Yea I keep dreaming of a chef of a Napoletana pizzeria but those are tough to come by. Thanks for the reply
 
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Joined Oct 1, 2006
Hey HC,

Denver! Look at, and maybe visit Starkey institute and see if they have anything to offer in the way of employment. Last I heard they were looking for qualified folks to do remote site training. Training the staff for the Presidential suite of high end hotels all over the planet. Understand that they would probably try to get you to fill a spot for their high end clients first! Working in a household as manager and/or Chef is geared more to a lifestyle. You need to be there when they want you. Dinner party at the New England home followed by getting to Bahamas to get Yacht ready for an event, then to Italy for whatever and then back to New England. Every one of those situations are different except that they will always want you, when they want you. Some provide a home for you on the compound. (You would need to be able to pass a deep background check. Arrests, money or Alcohol issues, etc.)

As far as culinary school, I thought about that until I realized that you will teach what the school wants you to teach. Deviation from the lesson plan is not encouraged!

Work the Great Lakes! Cook on a commercial ship and have 6 months on, 6 months off, cooking for the Captain and crew.

Test kitchen Chef, Product chef, Equipment Chef, Corporate Chef running the Exec. dining room, University food programs, etc.
Who is making the food for First Class passengers at Denver International Airport?

Open your Pizzeria, I can smell the wood fired oven right now! That would be fun!

Maybe you could use a head hunter and see what they can offer that might appeal to YOUR desires.

Too many options for a skilled chef besides the repetition of endless reproducing of a restaurant menu ... I don't think you need to abandon the food world but it's your journey, try to do what would make you happy.

Best of luck with your choices!
 
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