Tuesday, January 31, 2012
The Order of the Chef
Chefs tend to work incessant hours for some reason. Could it be a habit built from our early days earning our lumps in stumpy basement kitchens? A constant search for perfection that is never sated as there is always someone making 'douchebag' behavior somewhere in our restaurant? Are we simply bullied by hoards of hungry mouths chomp chomping away with fervor during their time off? Whatever the reason, when it comes to having a productive life outside of work, many of us just need help.
How many cliches are out there regarding irate, bar-hopping, cigarette smoking, hysterically ranting, drug-induced panting, mouth foaming, front of house eating, battered t-shirt wearing, not shaving, office sleeping, molten steel bleeding, angry blogging chefs? Is this some new American standard of the culinary world? Are chefs like this everywhere? Is something amiss with our associated lifestyle?
My theory is this: we get into the industry and eagerly work our fingers to the bone doing the 'bitch' schedules and skullduggery required of most culinary know-nothings and the rhythm begins to set in. After work we go for a couple drinks to blow off some steam, maybe someone brings along other unmentionables and now we have friends...and strings. We can't really fathom having other friends because normal people...go hang out in restaurants during the hours we toil. Once we climb the ranks not much changes, we still stick around after our shift and bs with the guys, or we go out to the bars but now they are different bars, the ones where the chefs and sous chefs hang out. This is not a schedule conducive to a healthy, happy life. This is not a schedule we are required to keep. This is a trap of this very challenging industry that can easily be avoided. With help.
This is where the Order of the Chef comes into play. The Order of the Chef is an association for all of the chefs out there who feel stuck in the mire of a day to day 'vicious cycle' lifestyle. You know who you are. If you are still jammin out to the beat of that 2pm alarm clock, then the Order of the Chef is not for you. If you are desperate to make a change and can't figure out how, if you get those 'bursts of enthusiasm' that die out in two weeks or two months and find yourself back in the muck, if you find yourself treading water and questioning your culinary resolve, then we may have something for you.
Many may want to revel in the 'industry lifestyle'...will that edge out my resolve to create a metaphorical walk-in for us all to hide out in when service gets hairy? No. I'm calling on my fellow culinary professionals to sound the battle cry! We don't need to be the red headed step children of our global workplace, we can find balance in the helping hands of our brigade. We understand each other because we've been through the same fire in myriad localities. We are all chefs.
Our mission as the Order of the Chef will be to promote and facilitate healthy, pro-active lifestyles for our members, to lead by example and to build a network of like-minded industry professionals as a support structure for those seeking change. Make no mistake, we are here to eradicate drug and alcohol problems from this industry.
Please let us know what you think and contact us if you want to get involved.