The Aging Chef

Discussion in 'Professional Chefs' started by chefron, Jul 6, 1999.

  1. chefron

    chefron

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    I had a bad day. Its getting harder to keep pace with my 20 year-old cooks. Lately it seems that every year my coworkers get younger. I used to flirt with waitresses, now I'm paternal with them. I used to bite my pasta to test for al dente. Now I have no teeth. I used to prance from station to station as a gazelle, now I limp. What happens to chefs over 50 I wonder? Do we dry up and blow away? My chef coats are new, but they don't feel as white as they used to.

    I worked oh-so hard in youth to learn and to master my trade. Now I question how long I will be able to ride the never-ending waves of tickets and thrive in 150 degree heat. What dark comedy is this that because of age I have become so much wiser, so gentle with my employees, but at the same time unable to keep physical pace? The trade-off hardly seems fair. What happens to chefs over 50 I wonder?
     
  2. pete

    pete Moderator Staff Member

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    Ron, I studied under a number of older chefs. Most were french but a few were American. Most of them have gotten out of the high-volume trade and run smaller, finer dining restaurants. Another option is to go into teaching. When I was in school a number of my instructors had gotten tried of the fast pace of the business and wanted to do something a little less stressful. The other option I can think of is to start writing. The world is in need of some good food critics who have real food experiences.

    [This message has been edited by Pete (edited July 06, 1999).]
     
  3. youla

    youla

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    Dear Chef Ron, you sound very down in the dumps and I think you need a holiday...I am 40 and watch as all these talented young things come in and work beside me and I am supposed to show them something new.....just learn off them, forget about the flirting and the al dente pasta and come down to australia and go back with lots of new ideas and a new vigour to show what you've seen down under....cheer up !!!

    [This message has been edited by youla (edited July 15, 1999).]
     
  4. pete

    pete Moderator Staff Member

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    future MCM I love your passion!! I wish all my cooks could be like you. I would exchange experience for passion anytime. I have many cooks with loads of experience but they are only motivated by the money. Its hard to get them to be passionate about the food they are serving. But pace yourself. Dont burn yourself out by the time you are 30. And yes it does happen, usually to people such as yourself. Dont turn 30 and discover that all you have in life is your career. Life is so much more than that. It is family, friends, hobbies, vacations, etc. This career takes up so much of our time that it is important to do things away from the kitchen once in a while. Your life must have a balance or you will end up bitter and resentful of this job someday. Best of luck with your career. It is people like you, with your passion, that rise to the top and go far, but remember food is only one aspect of your life.