Working in the kitchen is not the easiest job, in fact, it’s one of the hardest we’ve encountered for the sheer man hours and gruelling physical labour involved.
Why would anyone do it? It’s a question every chef has asked at some point in their career, usually early on, but one that comes with a number of answers.
Working in a kitchen is rewarding, it teaches you hundreds of new things and there’s a pay off after every single plate hits a table.
Paul Sorgule, a chef with years of experience and the writer of the Harvest America Ventures blog, thinks that working in the kitchen teaches you valuable life lessons and he’s listed them in detail on his blog.
IT’S ABOUT MORE THAN YOU
Kitchens only function when the individual understands his or her role as part of a team.
MAKING STUFF IS IMPORTANT
A person can take many roads toward a chosen profession, but there is something innate about an individual’s sense of accomplishment when he or she is able to make something that is tangible and enjoyed by others.
ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE IF YOU ARE PREPARED
There is little room in a kitchen for poor preparation. It only takes one night on the line when things fall apart and chaos ensues, for a cook to refuse to put him or herself in that position again.
TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF
Part of being prepared is taking care of oneself physically, mentally, and emotionally. Those cooks who fail to understand this (and there are many) suffer the consequences and put their team in jeopardy.
IF NOTHING ELSE – BE DEPENDABLE
Cooks learn quickly to show up on time (15 minutes early at least) ready to work and learn. Everything else can be taught. There is no tolerance in life for a lack of dependability.
THINK BEFORE YOU SPEAK
Due to the nature of the kitchen, cooks learn that when they speak, their words must be well thought out, concise and timely. The pace of the kitchen cannot tolerate anything but this approach that will serve that cook well – on and off the job.
EQUALITY IS NATURAL
Let people work together toward a common goal and you will automatically see how all barriers fall to the wayside. There are perfect examples of this in the kitchen, but also in sports, the military, and in organisations with a focus on helping others. Cooks learn that equality is a natural thing.
TAKE CARE OF YOUR TOOLS
In the kitchen, unlike many other fields, cooks own and care for their own tools. These tools provide them with the ability to perform at a certain level and as such must be cared for every day. This is a great life lesson.
ANYTHING WORTH DOING IS WORTH DOING WELL
Cooks learn that if they are assigned the task, it must be done to a standard of excellence. Even off the job, it is rare to find a professional cook waiver from this in life.
BE TRUE TO YOURSELF
When you see a cook who has worked in a particular kitchen for a number of years, it is typically because there is some level of philosophical match. When the match doesn’t exist, then cooks tend to be constantly looking for that next gig.
SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF
In the kitchen – cooks learn to appreciate those small things and their impact on the whole. Cleanliness, mise en place, dry towels vs. wet towels, chipped plates, properly chopped parsley, hot plates for hot food and cold plates for cold food are all small factors that impact the experience of the guest, the pride of the cook, and the success of the restaurant.
GIVE MORE THAN YOU GET
Successful chefs, managers, and restaurateurs are almost always individuals who give more than they get. This same attitude can apply to any profession, to relationships, to family, or to friendships.
PRIDE CAN BE A GOOD THING
A lack of pride in the kitchen or in life is a result of people unwilling to give the right amount of effort. It is a lack of pride that is a problem in life.