The curse of being a chef! A slightly more personal and in-depth look at the various diversities of what being a chef actually is this week!
There is so much hype and glamourising about celebrity chefs and people seem to mix them all into one bag – they couldn’t be further from the truth.
“The better the restaurant, the more stress and pressure the chef will get and he cascades it down to the others… shit rolls down hill…”
So let’s look at what we chefs actually do, if you look at all the different restaurants and bars and what they serve, it gives you an indication of what the brigade is like; a basic café with lots of breakfast dishes and sandwiches that seats around 20 people certainly won’t be the same brigade in a high end brasserie that seats 200 people. So we have casual dining places like your grills, brasseries and steak houses that tend to be very busy and relaxed, then we have restaurants that are quite a mixed bag, from low end to the high end fine dine like our very own Michael Caines Restaurant. Depending on how good the places are and how busy they are, the more money the chef earns!
Commis chef (learning), Demi chef de partie (just a bit better), Chef de partie (good all rounder), Junior sous (baby manager), Sous chef (Chefs’ top man), Head chef (top dog) and Executive chef (boss of everyone) is the usual format most kitchens follow. The better the restaurant, the more stress and pressure the chef will get and he cascades it down to the others, like I always say “shit rolls down hill!”
Now, all of these guys are in the kitchen everyday in the heat and pressure and stress working 50-90 hours a week to keep you lovely people happy and doing what they believe to be their calling in life. The sacrifices we make are endless, our working day means that the entire day is lost in the kitchen.
“Everyday is like ‘Ready, Steady, Cook’, trying to make our produce go further.”
We can’t watch EastEnders or go to the football on the weekends and we don’t get to see out loved ones very often. It is a big sacrifice but we do what we do because we love it, and the few that last the hours and pressure make great head chefs. There are very few chefs which come through the ranks these days and even fewer chefs coming from college, the education system struggles to keep up with the modern ways of professional kitchens which is Michael Caines runs his own apprenticeship scheme, it’s more effective and beneficial to the students this way. It’s one man’s vision of hell and another man’s version of heaven, we are a weird but wonderful and passionate breed.
It’s a difficult job to do, and even more so when you’re the man responsible for a team of 27 chefs and the buying and selling of nearly £10,000 of food per week! Everyday is like ‘Ready, Steady, Cook’, trying to make our produce go further.
I’m going to concentrate on some Sunday lunch recipes for you lot from next week, send me your yorkie pig recipe or your best stuffing recipe and see if I can get you to cook a great big banquet for your family for a get together.
Much love x
Until next week Manchester…
All views expressed are those of the author.