When people are thinking of taking their first steps into kitchens, many around them are quick to give advice. They will warn of the toil involved, the strength of character and the stamina that are needed, the long hours… But however much warning is given, one is always quick to disregard it and shrug one’s shoulders because really, how hard can it be?
In my years working in kitchens I have seen hundreds come and go; eager at the start but quickly disenchanted and just as eager to get out. Only a small percentage of people who walk into the world of gastronomy stay there once faced with this harsh environment.
Below is a list that I compiled of all the realities of day to day life as a chef, based on my own experience as well as on my observations.
What you can expect from making a living in a professional kitchen:
You’ll almost always have open wounds on your hands and arms.
You’ll never meet new people because your social life deteriorates into non-existence.
You’ll find it hard to start relationships because alone time will become a precious thing.
You’ll lose your social skills.
Your sense of humour will degrade into the politically incorrect and socially unacceptable.
You’ll eventually start swearing like a sailor and you won’t even notice yourself doing it.
You’ll turn into an anorak/monomaniac and always turn all conversations back to food.
You’ll earn a pittance for years/decades.
You’ll either lose a vast amount of weight or gain a vast amount of weight.
You’ll never ever have a tan ever again.
You won’t become famous.
You’ll develop a habit, whether it be coffee, cigarettes, alcohol, gambling, cannabis, cocaine, or even red bull.
Your feet will get destroyed.
Your back will get destroyed.
Your hands will get destroyed.
You’ll live in a constant state of sleep deprivation, indefinitely.
I am only 24 years old, yet I have actually already chosen my last tie. It’s the one that I will wear on my funeral a few months from now. It may not match my suit, but I think it’s perfect for the occasion.
The cancer diagnosis came too late to give me at least a tenuous hope for a long life, but I realized that the most important thing about death is to ensure that you leave this world a little better than it was before you existed with your contributions . The way I’ve lived my life so far, my existence or more precisely the loss of it, will not matter because I have lived without doing anything impactful.
Before, there were so many things that occupied my mind. When I learned how much time I had left, however, it became clear which things are really important. So, I am writing to you for a selfish reason. I want to give meaning to my life by sharing with you what I have realized:
1. Don’t waste your time on work that you don’t enjoy. It is obvious that you cannot succeed in something that you don’t like. Patience, passion, and dedication come easily only when you love what you do.
2. It’s stupid to be afraid of others’ opinions. Fear weakens and paralyzes you. If you let it, it can grow worse and worse every day until there is nothing left of you, but a shell of yourself. Listen to your inner voice and go with it. Some people may call you crazy, but some may even think you’re a legend.
1. When a dealership tells you the vehicle is on the lot or will hold the vehicle for you and then tells you it was sold when you get there, leave. They pulled a bait and switch on you
This is a very common tactic to bring in customers on to the lot. Half of the work in selling a car is to get the buyer to come to the dealership. I have found that most of the dealerships that pull this tactic are not ones to be trusted; they showed you that they are willing to trick you so you can come to them, they have a mindset of tricking their customers for profit. If they dont have your vehicle then leave and continue your car search, dealerships like these are more trouble then they are worth.
2. If a baby/toddler appears to hurt themselves (falls over, hits head, etc.) and they look to you, always meet their gaze and smile 😀
I see this mistake made constantly: someone is watching their kid (who is just learning how to walk) run straight into a table that is conveniently right at head height. The kid looks around for mom (or whoever), not quite crying yet but definitely on the brink of tears, and the mom freaks out and puts on a horrified face to match. Kid sees face and begins to cry hysterically.
This can be avoided for the most part by smiling and not over-reacting when your kid looks to you for help. They’re confused. They haven’t felt like this before (they’re 1 remember). They’re pretty sure this is bad but don’t know yet. They look around for help and to see how others are reacting to the situation. When you smile at them you are re-assuring them that everything is going to be okay. Pretty much without fail kids will calm down almost instantly in response to a genuine smile.
It also helps to lay some infant directed speech on them, but this isn’t totally necessary, they’re really just looking for facial confirmation that they’re not going to die.
Obviously you’re still going to want to check them over for any serious bumps or bruises but just make sure you’re smiling when you do it.
3. If you are away from news for a while and want to catch up search “[month] [year]” in Wikipedia. This will give you all the major world news for that month.
For example, typing “April 2015″ will give you the latest on ISIS or Baltimore Riots
Obviously, I’m not a relationship expert. But there’s something about my divorce being finalized this week that gives me perspective of things I wish I would have done different—¦ After losing a woman that I loved, and a marriage of almost 16 years, here’s the advice I wish I would have had
1. Never stop courting. Never stop dating. NEVER EVER take that woman for granted. When you asked her to marry you, you promised to be that man that would OWN HER HEART and to fiercely protect it. This is the most important and sacred treasure you will ever be entrusted with. SHE CHOSE YOU. Never forget that, and NEVER GET LAZY in your love.
2. Protect your own heart. Just as you committed to being the protector of her heart, you must guard your own with the same vigilance. Love yourself fully, love the world openly, but there is a special place in your heart where no one must enter except for your wife. Keep that space always ready to receive her and invite her in, and refuse to let anyone or anything else enter there.
3. Fall in love over and over again. You will constantly change. You’re not the same people you were when you got married, and in five years you will not be the same person you are today. Change will come, and in that you have to re-choose each other everyday. SHE DOESN’T HAVE TO STAY WITH YOU, and if you don’t take care of her heart, she may give that heart to someone else or seal you out completely, and you may never be able to get it back. Always fight to win her love just as you did when you were courting her.
4. Always see the best in her. Focus only on what you love. What you focus on will expand. If you focus on what bugs you, all you will see is reasons to be bugged. If you focus on what you love, you can’t help but be consumed by love. Focus to the point where you can no longer see anything but love, and you know without a doubt that you are the luckiest man on earth to be have this woman as your wife.
5. It’s not your job to change or fix her—¦ your job is to love her as she is with no expectation of her ever changing. And if she changes, love what she becomes, whether it’s what you wanted or not.
6. Take full accountability for your own emotions: It’s not your wife’s job to make you happy, and she CAN’T make you sad. You are responsible for finding your own happiness, and through that your joy will spill over into your relationship and your love.
By Koty Neelis
You’re never alone.
The great thing about traveling is that even when you’re traveling through unfamiliar landscapes, surrounded by people you don’t know, you’re never truly alone. People are generally welcoming and friendly everywhere you go and striking up a conversation with someone can turn a stranger into a friend within minutes.
The world is a lot less scary than we think.
Often, the idea of traveling can seem overwhelming and frightening. It pushes us out of our comfort zone and forces us to interact with the world in a different way than we’re used to. By traveling the world you realize that people are mostly the same everywhere – good and kind and not out to harm you.
You can survive with a lot less than you think.
It’s easy to over pack for any trip but many times when you’re traveling you realize you only needed about half of what you actually brought. A great idea is to look up packing lists on your tablet for the region you’ll be visiting and reading what other travelers recommend. Pack your suitcase or backpack then look at what you have and eliminate anything unnecessary. You’ll thank yourself later when you want more room to bring home gifts.
You learn how to rely on others.
We’re so used to being independent adults taking care of ourselves but traveling is the one experience that brings us back to a childlike state. Everything is new and unknown and you look at everything with a sense of wonder and curiosity. You ask for directions or tips on where to go around town and realize a big part of your journey is relying on the kindness of strangers.
The world is filled with incredible food.
At home we’re so used to eating the same type of meals day in and day out but when you’re on the road you’re more likely to step outside of your comfort zone and try something you’ve never had before. While traveling you open yourself up to new experiences and realize just how amazing the food is all around the world.
You can have fun anywhere.
They often say it’s the journey, not the destination that makes a trip and that’s one of the greatest truths about traveling. You can make a connection with someone you’re sitting next to on a bus or while waiting to board your next flight. You learn to find joy in the small moments in your trip even if it’s just pulling your tablet out and sharing funny videos with the person sitting next to you.
It’s never too late to change.
Travel is all about change. You learn so much about yourself while on the road. It’s an introspective process that forces you to reflect on your life and who you are. When you put on your headphones and tune out the rest of the world you start thinking about everything going on in your life and what you’d like to do differently when you get back home.
You learn to relax.
Travel forces you to slow down and to become still for a moment. You put everything back at home on pause and learn not to worry about everything. These are the moments when we appreciate how amazing life truly is. In those quiet moments of reflection it’s great to grab your tablet and write about what you’ve seen thus far on your trip.
You learn how to question the status quo.
When you’re traveling abroad you see just how different things are compared to your own country and culture. You begin questioning things you’ve been so accustomed to your entire life, and you begin to have a new perspective on life and your cultural standards. Suddenly everything you thought you knew slightly changes and once you arrive back home you realize you’re no longer the same person as when you left.
You become more connected with the world around you.
You’re trying new foods, possibly learning new languages, and meeting people from various places around the world. Through these experiences you become more connected to the world in which we live and realize just how similar we are regardless of where we call home.
1. It’s hard to explain, but for me it’s that the sense of being part of some story where you are the protagonist kind of fizzles out unceremoniously and leaves you drifting for the rest of forever.
As a kid, you’re on a path, there’s a plan laid out for you, and whether you intentionally break from the plan or follow it to the letter, there’s this linear progression of growth, and an ultimate goal to strive for. You have allies, you have enemies, you have trials that you pass or fail, you have moments of catharsis, etc. You feel like part of a beautiful narrative, like the heroes in movies and books and tv shows and stories. You feel like there’s a right and a wrong way to go, and some ultimate fate waiting for you at the end that will sum up what all of it meant.
When you get to be an adult, that illusion crumbles away as you realize that you don’t have a narrative, there is no path or plan, things aren’t always linear, and you’re nobody’s hero. There are no allies, because friends can be both good and bad for you simultaneously. There are no enemies, because frankly no one cares enough to wage a personal war for long. You don’t have a destiny. You make choices that are more a product of random chance than you want to admit, and sometimes the consequences make sense, sometimes they don’t. You may flounder around in a bunch of different directions for many years, ultimately not making any progress, and having nothing of import to show for it. You’re not a good person or an evil person – you’re just an ant wandering around looking for crumbs. No, worse than an ant, because an ant has a purpose in life, to serve its queen and colony. You can choose to align yourself with a purpose, but it may never fulfill you or reward you. And nobody will be waiting with a shiny gold medal for you if you stick to it.
Life as an adult seems less and less like an exciting adventure story and more and more like a delerious, confusing fog of random developments and passing phases that raise more questions than they answer.
Edit: I somehow put my first edit in the middle of the text, which made it weird. But it said thank you very much for the gold and comments. I appreciate all the insights and solidarity, and the disagreement too.
I haven’t always felt this way about adulthood, and I probably won’t always feel exactly this way. It’s not as if everything’s hopeless, or that I’ll never try to find a direction for my life. It’s just that the realization of how small your impact actually is, and that you are not destined for anything great, and how subject you are to forces bigger than yourself – that’s a tough pill to swallow
1.When you’re going down the pub with your mates and you expect to be back around 11 tell her you’ll be back at around 12. So when you roll in the door at 11 you can claim you left early to see her before you both went to bed.
2. Once you’re in a long-term relationship/marriage, never stop dating your SO. There needs to be some sort of constant courtship to make them feel you still want them, even after all these months/years. I am an expert at not doing this.
3. “You’re not required to set yourself on fire to keep other people warm.”
4.“Marry someone with a different favorite cereal than you so they won’t eat all of yours.” You’d be amazed how much more peaceful life is this way.
5. Best response to: “my SO has changed, and it’s just not working any more”.
“If people can change, then that change is ongoing. Marriage is a beautiful thing that allows two people the time and space to safely fall in and out of love many, many times. Your wife could again become sexual just as easily as a new woman could become cold. I would plead with you to tend your own garden and be patient in its fruits. Paths that have intersected in the past are all the more likely to cross again soon.”
6. Don’t look for a girl you want to treat like a princess, look for a girl you want to treat like a partner. Its very true. I don’t mind carrying my SO, but I need to know she can carry me if I feel down
7. No relationship is perfect and there will be conflict. What matters is the desire to solve the problem.
8. Just because a person is right or perfect for you that you may not be the right one for them.
9. “A relationship is like a fart. If you have to force it, it’s probably shit.”
10. Don’t go into a relationship expecting to be made happy. You have to be able to be happy on your own first.