We came across an interesting discussion over on the ChefTalk forum recently. An 18–year-old chef just out of culinary school (not pictured) is worried that she doesn’t have the passion to make it in the kitchen and is in need of advice on how to be a chef.
User Wynter12345 admits that although she enjoyed culinary school immensely and loves cooking, having just been offered a job following a trial at a high–end restaurant she feels like a fraud: “Is this really what I want to do? I'm going to be rubbish! The fact I'm even thinking this implies I shouldn't be doing this! Am I passionate enough? Does the fact I have these doubts indicate I shouldn't be doing this?” she asks.
She continues: “I am passionate but not in this super extreme way because I've never done it before ... Of course I'm aware of the hours I just don't think I'm anything like most of the chefs I see online ... I'm just not that stereotypical angsty-angry chef type... and I'm really nervous about starting this job in case the fact I'm not 100% excited and raring to go is a glaring sign that I shouldn't be doing this.”
You can read some of the constructive, and some less constructive responses she received from chefs on the forum below. Read the full how to be a chef thread here.
What do you think? Is 100% unwavering passion vital when first starting out in the kitchen or does it develop on the job? Are shouty chefs distorting young rookies' views of the industry? Let us know in the comments below or over on our Facebook page.
8 chefs on how to be a chef
“You are over thinking it. What if? What if you don't like it? ... How about what if you do like it? What then? Just do it and find your answer.”
Luis de Vence
“Take the job, go to work and the anxiety will slowly ease out. Stay focused on the work, stay focused on learning and keep improving yourself. You are 18, go for it.”
“Sounds like you just wasted a bunch of time and money. You need to work in a cubicle, cook for fun at home.”
“Life has a funny way of guiding a person down the right roads in life. After working for a year or so you will know if this business is for you. Right now just look at it as a job don't worry about anything else.”
“To be in this industry you must love it ... because why else would you do this. Working in a kitchen is only fun to those who truly love being there. So go work and put yourself and your feelings to the test. If you don´t try, the doubt may just end up consuming you.”
“Are you a quitter? Or are you going to just go do your job? Stick it through a bit and find out. You're young and have time to figure things out.”
“You have to experience something before you can say you like it or not. Throw that f--in word passion out the window. It's a blanket term to validate that your [sic] in an industry that is different from most.”
“You shouldn't worry about how other people do their job or view you. You need to find your own way. Do I get nervous? Sure. But I take that as something positive. I've been in the business for almost 10 years. And I still get nervous before service. If I didn't get exited I would find something else to do. I think you should try it. Maybe you'll love it. Maybe you won't. But if you don't try it you'll never know.”