People usually have mixed reactions when it comes to becoming a culinary professional because it is, after all, a multi-faceted career choice. Those who have heard or seen its bad side often complain about the long hours and the stress, as well as the expensiveness of it when pursued. Those who aspire to be as great as Mario Batali, meanwhile, find the intent a way to upscale their lifestyle and bring in more power and recognition. Both are true in a sense but the end result will always depend on how the process of getting there is pursued. But while you are figuring out which realities to believe about being a chef, you might be interested in knowing more about the other upsides and downsides to being one.
1. Being able to prepare any dish you like wherever you are and even make sumptuous meals from scratch. Anyone who has had surprise visitors or are a bit pinched on cash can relate to the usefulness of this opportunity. Who doesn’t want to impress people using as little resources as possible? Being a chef allows you to survive every social gathering you may or may not organize. Plus, you also get to keep your guests satiated and satisfied, which helps your reputation as a host.
2. Getting to explore of a number of job options, from working behind the kitchen to being in charge of people’s nutrition and making decisions regarding certain food products. Unlike other courses that just limit you to one option, taking cooking classes gives you a bigger professional landscape to play in. And as such, you don’t have to force yourself to stick to one for thirty years or so.
3. Allowing you to build stronger relationships, whether it is platonic or romantic. As the saying goes, the best way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. Now, just imagine how happy and eager your family or friends would be to drop by your house for lunch or dinner if you know how to make succulent dishes. Wouldn’t that give you all the chance to bond and share thoughts? Of course, this may not necessarily apply if you have a poor attitude and are not as gifted when it comes to entertaining guests. However, it should make things a little bit easier for you to bait them to be closer to you.
4. Gives you the luxury of traveling the world. Although this isn’t something that is available to everyone, it is certainly a possibility to those who are lucky enough to be hired for cruise ships or hotel chains. Remember that these workplaces usually provide reassignment breaks and if you perform well enough, you might land an opening in the French or Italian branch or head the kitchen in an Asian liner and be able to see and be in different places while at it.
Of course, as mentioned earlier, there are downsides to the experience, like not being in control of your environment and being subjected to constant pressure. The kitchen is a fast-paced, intensive and dangerous place to work in. Some lose a limb in it. Others get scars. Moreover, when you pursue a chef’s job, you are most likely to encounter internal struggles, mental challenges and physical difficulties. Talk about juggling hundreds of orders and standing more than 12 hours per day just to play your part in the whole scheme of things. Wouldn’t that make you feel discouraged about it?
There is also that disadvantage of being stalled and having a hard time advancing career-wise. It is a competitive industry and new candidates are being produced yearly. Sure, you may be talented enough to impress employers but that certainly does not guarantee that you would be able to get your time in the limelight and earn the respect of the whole community. Many aspiring chefs retire without having to head their own kitchen or establish their own business. On the other hand, those who do take as much as twenty years before they finally make a name for themselves. Because of their careers, they end up sacrificing their personal interests and consequently, in spite of their accomplishments, they feel like they have been robbed of their lives. It is a very common sentiment among professionals in this field and there’s no changing it.
Finally, you can’t escape the fact that going to culinary school and becoming a chef would help you realize all your dreams. There are no warranties to the whole process. Basically, you might just be spending all this time, effort and money for nothing but if it is any consolation, all career choices are like this. The only way you are ever going to survive is if you make the most out of what you doing, live out your passions, enjoy every moment.
- License: Royalty Free or iStock source: http://www.crescentcitycooks.com/>
Cedric Loiselle is a highly talented writer providing quality articles for a wide range of niches including health, as well as food and cooking. If you are looking for the most reputable New Orleans cooking classes, check out his articles for tips and advice.