Get SF Weekly Newsletters

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

10 Reasons You Can't Be a Professional Chef (Even if You Make Really, Really Good Lasagna)

Posted By on Wed, May 25, 2011 at 10:06 AM

ENJOY THOSE THUMBS. THEY'LL BE GONE WITHIN SIX MONTHS.
  • Enjoy those thumbs. They'll be gone within six months.

You're slowly simmering a marinara, a glass of red wine perched nearby, an episode of This American Life softly droning in the background, when the thought strikes you: I could do this for a living. Drop out of the rat race, spend a couple of semesters in cooking school, and make it as a pro chef.

Think again, champ. Here's why most people, including you, aren't cut out for a life working in the kitchen.

click to enlarge While you dream of murder, your shadow just wants to make a nice bouillabaisse.
  • While you dream of murder, your shadow just wants to make a nice bouillabaisse.

1. You're terrible at time management. If you can't even time it so that your rice and stir-fry are done at the same time, can you imagine having four ovens, 10 burners, and two blenders going all at once? Of course you can't. And look at those tickets piling up. Your only hope of getting out of here is if all the customers leave. Oh look, they're doing just that!

2. You still have mercy in your soul. You don't have the stones needed to send home your spare line cooks and waiters on a slow night. What we're trying to say here is: you have a heart, and it's still working. Guess who else had a heart? Every broke motherfucker ever.

3. Your sense of humor isn't disgusting enough. Things get nasty in the kitchen. Like, 120 Days of Sodom nasty. If joking about itty-tay ucking-fay a icken-chay reast-bay is too much, perhaps working at a preschool is more your speed.

click to enlarge Tell me you like this salad, or I'll kill myself. I've already taken the sleeping pills. I'm ready to go.
  • Tell me you like this salad, or I'll kill myself. I've already taken the sleeping pills. I'm ready to go.

4. You suck at being handy. Have fun "creating your art." When you're done with that, you still need to figure out how to fix the pilot light on the grill. Plus, the reach-in door keeps spilling cold air onto everyone's feet. Chefs don't just chef, they're also carpenters, electricians, coaches, plumbers, managers, and therapists. Are you ready to talk your sous chef through a divorce whilst simultaneously unclogging your dish pit with a ladle?

5. You have no idea what food costs. You can't look at a dish and calculate how to save another 30 percent. You know those weekly reminders Mint sends about being over budget on groceries by about a million dollars? You're fired! Most restaurants survive by the skin of their teeth and they can't call mom to pay rent when they're screwed.

6. You really, really need eight hours of sleep in order to function properly. Most chefs work 60 to 100 hour weeks and don't use it as grounds for justifiable homicide. Remember that one time in college you stayed up for two days studying and couldn't remember how to open a door? Welcome to your new life.

click to enlarge Dude, have you ever thought that maybe like, inside each drop of gravy there's a whole other world, like a little gravy Earth with little gravy people, and then they're pouring gravy into a dish? Fuuuuuck.
  • Dude, have you ever thought that maybe like, inside each drop of gravy there's a whole other world, like a little gravy Earth with little gravy people, and then they're pouring gravy into a dish? Fuuuuuck.

7. You don't really know how to dice an onion. Or have any knife skills, actually. In the hour it took you to chop veggies for one stew, you shoulda turned out about 17 buckets of potatoes. You know what you, aided by Alton, hold up as your greatest chopping work? That would be displayed for ridicule in a professional kitchen. And we're just talking about Applebee's here.

8. You're not great in high pressure situations. Remember how stressed you got setting up the taco bar for your birthday party? That doesn't begin to compare to the hellfire of working the line in a busy restaurant. People go from being atheists to believing in God and back again in the course of one shift.

9. You've written one too many Yelp reviews. You may have forgotten when you said that garnish was a little "overwrought" but the Restaurant Gods have not. They're gonna fuck you hard for that one, kiddo.

And, even if you should manage to hack it on the line, remember this:

10. You will never be a famous chef. You know how you roll your eyes at yowling freaks on American Idol who think they're gonna become rich and famous because they can do karaoke? Guess what? They've got more chances to escape anonymity than you do working in a kitchen. Here's a thousand carrots. Chop 'em all. Now chop a thousand more. Repeat until you die.

Laura Beck is a founding editor of Vegansaurus! and tweets at mrpenguino. Follow SFoodie on Twitter: @SFoodie, and like us on Facebook.

  • Pin It

Tags: , , , ,

About The Author

Laura Beck

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed

Like us on Facebook

Slideshows

  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"