Ah, being a chef. A profession so often glamourized by social media and television. But those who are living the chef life say it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. Long hours, minimum pay, and immense pressure, are just a few of the many reasons why depression is so high amongst restaurant workers. Here are a few not-so-great things chefs have to deal with.
It’s a well-known fact that chefs and cooks work extremely long hours, sometimes even 70 hours a week. They work weekends, evenings, and on holidays. For many who work in upscale restaurants, 12-hour days are the norm, which makes burnout a common phenomenon amongst those who work in the restaurant industry.
Being a chef is not the most comfortable job. You’re on your feet all day, in a hot (and sometimes cramped) kitchen. Combine that with many late nights, and chefs often end up with swollen, tired feet. Closed shoes and a hot kitchen also lead to sweaty feet, which can increase the likelihood of getting a fungal infection or even blisters. This is why chefs wear shoes specifically designed for comfort and safety.
Even professional chefs are at risk for the many hazards that occur in a kitchen. There is the threat of burning while cooking, slipping on the floor, or cutting themselves with a sharp knife. As if that’s not enough, research now says that chefs are at a higher risk of respiratory problems due to the inhalation of cooking fumes!
Because of the odd hours worked by most chefs, it’s difficult to maintain a healthy work-life balance. Even personal relationships become a challenge. When they are at home, the rest of the family or their friends are at work, and vice versa. This can get complicated when you’re in the dating scene, since the other person feels as if they’re neglected. If the other person is also in the restaurant industry, it makes it even more challenging, because now there are two hectic schedules to work around.
Many start their career as a chef because of their love for cooking. These days, chefs wear many hats. Some are small business owners, who also need administrative and management skills. Some are entertainers on cooking shows and they need to be – well, entertaining! As a head chef, they need to be able to lead a whole team of other chefs in a successful kitchen. All these different roles can be demanding and stressful. So even though you have this idea that chefs have the pleasure of creating new dishes all day, this is likely not the case!