Yummy bits and bobs from my kitchen!
…and I’ve never been happier!
In spring this year, I thought I’d got my big break. Only a year after leaving uni I was offered a chef job at a new 5 star hotel with amazing benefits. It seemed too good to be true; I was going to be working towards the creation of a new Michelin starred restaurant in Bath.
Within two months, I’d lost a stone, was isolated from my friends and family, weak and sleep deprived. The job just wasn’t what I’d been promised and was making me miserable. Looking back now I kept the job longer than I should have because I didn’t want to be a quitter. After working so hard for the job, and convincing myself that it was an opportunity that I shouldn’t throw away I didn’t want to look like I couldn’t hack high quality food work.
I resigned and went for an interview at a nearby gastro pub. I’ve been working there for 2 months now and couldn’t be much more chuffed with how things are going. I get to be creative, I get to use a massive range of skills, I’m treated with respect, the food I make is delicious, and there isn’t a horrible, unbudging hierarchy. It feels great to be doing work that is unrestricting and is genuinely contributing to a really high quality food scene that ordinary people can afford.
Yup, I agreed to promote an event by wearing a slightly shocking hotdog hat … but I dont mind it, and it has started many an interesting conversation with a bemused customer.
I’m sure some chefs would read this article with a snort of laughter and say “That’s nothing, mate.” then spin some yarn about how they work 80 hours a week… and that’s on a good week “har-har-har”. A lot of chefs love to joke around about how stressful or time-consuming their work is. But I’m not willing to accept that. I’m not going to take pride in having horrible working conditions. I don’t think it needs to be part of the job and I’m not the only one: two-Michelin-starred restaurant owners Sat and Amanda Bans have decided to open their restaurant, Sat Bains only 4 days a week in order to improve working conditions.
The thought of working in a potentially Michelin starred kitchen can be seen as the ultimate goal, but, different goals suit different people. These variations in people’s ultimate aspirations is why we have different styles of chefs, so many different cuisines and varying and affordable food options. Moving into a more creative work setting was undoubtedly a top move for me, and I would definitely encourage others to chaise their own dreams, rather than dreams that other people have put in their head.