There are times I miss being a Chef. I miss the adrenaline rush of being on the line and being slammed. I miss munching on Caesar salad leftovers at two in the morning and having a glass of wine at the end of the night with the owner to discuss how the night went. If I could do it all over again I am not sure the path I would have taken would have been the same.
As I moved up the ranks to becoming an Executive Chef, I spent less time cooking and more time managing and doing paperwork. As a line cook, the enjoyment I got out of coming into work and just cooking was lessened as I rose through the restaurant ranks. As a line cook, you come in to work, do your prep for the night, cook and go home. No midnight worries about whether you have ordered the salmon for the next day’s function. No stresses about having to write a menu for a catered party of all vegetarians later in the week.
Did the publicity and public acknowledgement make up for not being able to directly pursue my passion, which was creating, playing with and cooking food as often as I used to? Yes and no.
Yes, because it was gratifying to send newspaper articles to my relatives and have people meet me and say, “Hey, you were in that magazine I read the other day!”
No, because my passion was the food and cooking the food. I still get overly enthusiastic when describing how wonderful the food was in Italy. How mouthwatering the spinach was, freshly picked from the garden outside the restaurant. How amazing the roasted garlic, freshly dug up and roasted in front of us on an open fire hearth. I love cooking the food and talking about the food. I would suggest people who have dreams about being a Chef, being famous and being in the public eye, contemplate How to Evaluate if You want a Career as a Chef. This may not be a career you want to pursue or it may be perfect for you.