Why do you do it?

Joined Nov 4, 2005
im asking you all this question in hopes of finding an answer of my own, Why do you do it? Work in a hot kitchen? work long hours with no break ? kill your feet/back/body? work harder than anyone else and get paid peanuts? work when everyone else is playing?

we are all here because we chose to work in kitchens for the love of food, in your opinion, is it worth it?

after being in the industry for about 11 years, and i guess i've been having a few hard/long days at work,  i'd love to be inspired by hearing your comments. hearing why you love working in a kitchen and what is your drive that makes you kick butt in the kitchen everyday ?
Joined Apr 3, 2008
would you rather shuffle paper around? have an action priority list and meet in the break room for some cake with a bunch of uptight overdressed people? I don't. Worked for Apple computer and Verizon wireless in a cubicle hell. Every phone call monitored. No thank you. I Like a job where something I learned 5 years ago is almost as relevant as what I learned today and can be applied tomorrow in my job.  what i do for work i can (mostly) do at home. I  don't need a VPN into my workstation so I can get something done, I need my hands and my tools and fire. Come on, how many people can say that?
Joined Apr 3, 2010
Every day is a new challenge. When I got into it, I said to myself be the best, learn the most, and look forward. Got into it when I was 15 went to school for it, served an apprenticeship .Traveled all over the world. made a lot of money.Retired when I was about 40, but got bored and went back,and would do it all over again. I am 68 now and still love it.. I would not want to be starting in this day and age, It's different. Worked in some of the finest hotels in Europe and New York. Learned from at that time all the old timers from Europe, nothing came already made, all scratch, we made our own ice cream, mayonaise etc. Did Chaud Froid pieces Aspics, Galantines, you name it. Even made our own soap for the dishwashers.  I love volume and get a kick when we do a banquet of 1000 and it all goes great. Reminds me of the show the A-Team when everything and everyone works together.
Joined Nov 4, 2005
thanks you guys... i'd love to hear more stories like these!

im sure we've all had these kind of days where we doubt our career decisions.
Joined May 5, 2010
After 40 years in the business, I'm still excited and anxious each and every day to go to work. Food is all I think about when I go to bed each night and wake up each morning. It was my calling, Is it yours?
Joined Nov 23, 2010
While I'm pretty new to the profession of cooking I can relate to the OP, having switched from a career in music that had me asking a lot of the same questions after fifteen years...

The parallels from music to cooking are endless, and the results are much the same; for most of us it's not just a job but a lifestyle, one that doesn't pay nearly enough given how much we work at it, and often keeps us on the fringe of society with our unconventional hours.  It's one of those things, unlike a typical office/cubicle job, where if you haven't done it, you have no idea what it's like.

To answer the question, for me it was because I was burned out on my music career and desperately craved new skills and challenges.  At the same time, I was not born to lead any kind of "normal" life, and that's okay - there's no one-size-fits-all when it comes to careers.  Given my interest in food and cooking, and knowing already what the lifestyle was all about, I knew it would fit me and so far it has.  Like music, cooking is a performance art where we apply our skills professionally in the hopes of making people happy with our work.  At the same time it's an independent lifestyle that has its perks - dress how you like, listen to music while you work, constant joking around and comraderie with co-workers, getting to be creative and experimental with your tools...these are things rarely found in office jobs, manual labor work, retail etc...
Joined Dec 13, 2010
I don't work in a commercial kitchen environment, but I do spend many long hours on my feet as a food stylist and photographer. I do a lot of prep work, cooking, baking, garnishing, plating, styling and shooting. Then, when all of that is done, I often have to do post-work on the images as well. I have my share of long, exhausting days. And, not every job goes as smoothly as I would like. But, I love it all anyway. For me, the reward isn't just in the final images, but in the process of creating them from start to finish. I tend to view food as a medium of artistic expression, even when I'm preparing more basic dishes. It's a great outlet for creativity and personal expression. I'd rather be creating beautiful dishes, and resulting images, than doing paperwork any day.
Joined May 22, 2010


Instant feedback.

A chance to be creative.


"Black and white" results... it's either good or it's crap.

Some of the folks in the industry are amazing, unique,wonderful people.

I love the fact that I work in one of what I consider to be one of the "original trades"...as Gunnar said "hands, tools, fire", I figure when man was squatting in caves, there was always that one guy that could cook Mammoth better than anyone else.

Why not?


The job cost me my house, my marriage, my friends, my social life.

The other bunch of folks in the industry that are total effin' losers.
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Joined Apr 28, 2003
I couldn't see myself chained to computer in a 4x4 cubicle from 9-5, 5 days/week.  I get a strange gratifying sense of seeing what I can accomplish given where I work and what is made available to me. 
Joined Jan 31, 2011
Although I no longer cook professionally, I still love the thought of creating something new. My focus is on figuring out how to make things from scratch, whether it's something others haven't thought of before or recreating something that others think you can only buy. I just want to know how to do everything and I want to know how to do it with items that are commonly available, no matter where you live (at least in the US)

And instant gratification doesn't hurt. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/wink.gif

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