Points of View

Chef: 12 Reasons Why the Industry Has to Change

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Chef: 12 Reasons Why the Industry Has to Change
Photo Harvest America Ventures/Facebook

Chef Paul Sorgule, who often writes for us here at FDL, shares some great insights into what it means to be a chef or cook in the industry today, over on his Harvest America Ventures blog. Something of a kitchen veteran, he has a real grasp of the psychology of the job and what it takes to excel.

So, we wanted to highlight his latest post: “I Love Being a Chef but I’m Mad as Hell.” In it, Sorgule lists eight reasons why he loves the job, but also lists another 12 things about the industry that drive him crazy and need to change. 

Read more from chef Paul Sorgule

Take a look at his list below and if you think he’s missing anything, let us know over on our Facebook page.

1. I love being a chef quite simply because I have become competent. 

2. I love being a chef because I continue to be intrigued by the character of those who are serious about the craft. 

3. I love being a chef because I know that i can help to make people happy, even when the odds seem against that. 

4. I love being a chef because I am able to pay respect to ingredients and create food that is beautiful and gratifyingly delicious.

5. I love being a chef because every day in the kitchen is an opportunity to see a team bring the impossible to fruition.

6. I love being a chef because the job is built on the solid footing of thousands of dedicated professionals who previously gave much of their lives to the craft.

7. I love being a chef because I know that I earned where I am with my career.

8. I love being a chef because I can continue to live my professional life now that I am partially retired, through the success of those whom I helped to train and teach.

9. I am frustrated and angry because those cooks who are serious and talented are unable to make a decent living.

10. I am frustrated and angry because there is far too much mediocrity in this business that drowns out the excellent work that serious cooks do.

11. I am frustrated and angry because the title of chef is given out too freely to those who have yet to demonstrate that they have earned it.

12. I am frustrated and angry because far too many restaurateurs look at their kitchen staff in terms of labour dollars rather than people who want to personify the very best skills and attitude of a professional.

13. I am frustrated an angry that those who choose to pursue a college education in culinary arts are saddled with absurb debt that can never be paid.

14. I am frustrated and angry that too many culinary programs are more interested in filling classroom seats than helping a student decide if this profession is right for them.

15. I am frustrated and angry that too many culinary graduates are unwilling to pay their dues to really learn what it takes to become a chef.

16. I am frustrated and angry that line cooks are never given the credit they deserve.

17. I am frustrated and angry that america has failed to recognise service as an honourable profession.

18. I am frustrated and angry when people outside the industry think that the food network and shows like hells kitchen are an accurate portrayal of what kitchen life is like.

19. I am angry and frustrated that chefs are ignored when they talk about the importance of quality, chemical-free, gmo-free, ingredients from farmers and producers who are passionate about their craft.

20. I am frustrated and angry that some look at the lifestyle of a cook as something that is imposed on them rather than a choice that they make because they love what they do.

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  • drew_marshall said on

    Loved the article: everything applies...but maybe I'm a bit slow...#20...who is doing the action in this one? Is it the chef/cook that is thinking that this lifestyle is a choice so accept what you are given? Or, is it the outside forces (management, industry standards) that are making it an imposed lifestyle rather than understanding it is a choice thus taking them to the point that they should consider changing the industry to meet the needs of their workers lifestyles? If the lifestyle of 60 hours a week is imposed (which I have seen many times) how can a chef or sous chef change the lifestyle if the industry is demanding that? The industry will be like every other business out there: burn through them while they're young and just hire younger bodies for a cheaper wage when the old ones get too expensive. It's a nice idea to change the lifestyle but the powers that be are the ones that are the bean counters and as long as they are in charge, expect there to be change only on a limited, small business scale; not on a large business, corporate scale. I wish we all had an opportunity to be hired by private restaurants that had the lifestyle of quality and caring in mind for their employees but, let's be honest, for every one restaurant like that there are 200 that are just trying to make a profit for their share holders. You have the chefs/sous chefs working 60 hours while the dish pit workers scrounge around for part time hours: all so that more money can be made. How is that good for the people or the food?

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