If food is your passion, if you love cooking and aspire to become a chef, stop, take a deep breath and think hard ‘what being a chef means!’ The life of a chef is certainly not a bed of roses. Let us make a list of pros and cons of what being a chef is all about.
First let us enlist the qualities you need to become a chef
- Passion for food and cooking: This is of primary importance. If you have that then half your battle is won. The long hours on your feet will be of little consequence when you are behind the stove at your creative best.
- Dedication and tenacity: The culinary trade requires years of training and experience. You will have to begin at the bottom of the ladder and work your way up. There are no short cuts so do not opt for this as a career if you don’t have the tenacity to work long hours on your feet.
- Interpersonal and leadership skills: A chef’s job is not just cooking but also managing a kitchen. He or she has to be a team player and have the skills to manage the staff and inspire them so that together they can produce food of the highest quality, consistently.
- Cool balanced temperament: Some famous chefs are well known for their bad temper and the foul language they use. But today such behavior is not acceptable. A successful chef must be able to keep his cool in the high stress environment of a professional kitchen.
- Multitasking skills: A chef has to be able to do more than one job at a time; handling more than one stove simultaneously is part of the job for any chef.
- Split second decision making: A very important skill any competent chef must have is the ability to make split second decisions. In the high paced professional kitchen there is no time to wait. And the decisions have to be the right ones; so clarity of thought and judgement is an important quality of a chef.
Now the cons of becoming a chef
- Be prepared to endure aches, pains, burns and bruises. A chef’s life is a hard life. Long hours on one’s feet, sharp knives that cut, splattering hot oil that blisters; it’s all a part of the job. ‘Grin and bear’ must be the chef’s motto!
- Be prepared to work the hardest when everyone else is partying. There are no weekends or holidays for a chef.
- So naturally a chef’s social life is minimal. As a chef you will find yourself interacting with only your colleagues.
- Obviously it will be difficult for you to have a sustained relationship; your job will always come first.
- Sleep deprivation will become a constant in your life. Work will fill every waking moment of your life which will be from early morning till the dead of night. And then when you do go to bed, you will be so exhausted that sleep will evade you.
- After cooking all day your own meals will probably be junk food. You will be fed up of cooking gourmet meals!
But in spite of it all if you are the right kind of person, you will thank your lucky stars that you have become a chef and the pleasure you will get from cooking and feeding others will be immeasurable!