Difficulties of being a chef?

Alright, who gave him a soapbox, own up!

Well I started writing this blog after reading the likes of Orangette, tartelette and vanille et gourmand - blogs with the backdrop of beautiful states likes Oregon or San Fran. Farmers market bustling with the hum of human activity set at a relaxed pace that isn't known of in this leafy suburban Nottingham; sun kissed tomatoes piled next to ripe aubergines, dew glistening apples beside home grown lettuce.

Such produce is hard to come by in England, steadily we're catching on that maybe the supermarket isn't the best place to get our fresh produce - it is useful but if you really want the best or even good, pesticide lacking produce you need to hunt down your nearest producer. That to me is one of the joys of being a chef, you stand amongst others with one goal in mind, to prepare a meal for a total stranger with the best produce you've got, to push yourself to the edge of your skill set to either wow them or nourish the soul

I work in an office now and my culinary release is having the odd party, catering for my brother and his film crews - but I miss being a chef a lot, the pressure, the enjoyment of seeing a room of happy diners sat in quiet hum of conversation whilst savouring their meals.
To be a chef you need to have a streak of ego, to want to have others empty their plates as you fill their souls is the ultimate compliment, for them to come to your restaurant for those weddings, those birthdays, the first dates, the 100th date of a couple knowing each other most of their lives and unfortunately the remembrance dinners too.

What I'm working towards in this diatribe is the lack of chefs coming up through the ranks, I wish I could have stayed amongst those ranks but life doesn't always allow for it, so for me I'll help by raising the issue that affected me and what causes chef's to leave in their droves.
We don't get paid enough, we get treated like rubbish and for what? we slave away for twenty years or more building up to the level of head chef, the nights toiling away in the heat and pressure.

When its all said and done, and we've created a dish that we're proud of - to put our mark on the culinary map - we put it out to world... only to have others simply rip it off, now there is a big difference between a dish or a technique being interpreted by another restaurant. But to have a big chain rip off a restaurant on signature dish not once but TWICE is beyond the pale.

David Chang is who I'm talking about, now I had intended after this sabbatical to give you all a massive treat with a glistening christmas cake recipe of my own devising but after reading the following article [https://www.finedininglovers.com/blog/news-trends/david-chang-calls-out-starbucks/] about how David Chang has been systematically targeted by Starbucks it makes me wonder "Why?", if people will pay the big chains for someone else's hard work then why should we collectively as chefs bother?

As it is, after moving house, starting a new job and various other massive other shifts I thought I'd get back into giving back to the culinary world that gave me the tools to interpret what is in my head onto the plate. My point is this, if we want to keep skilled chefs in the industry, to give them the opportunities those before them have had, shouldn't we accept the reality that pay has to increase relative to their skill and to the economy as a whole? the dearth of skill is being filled by dispassionate, drone like 'Cooks' - who need the wage yes, but won't complain - but if you want rosette / michelin food on your plate than you should be prepared to help make sure chefs can put food on their own tables too

Coming up next time - Cranberry streusel christmas cake


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Meet The Author & Co.


Well I'm Stuart - the would be author of this attic space in the fens of the internet. When not trying to get this going I work as an office monkey in Nottinghamshire

However I am a trained chef - woe betide my silly decision there eh?

I would like to introduce the other part of this equation which is my daughter Esme! 3 and a half and already behaves like the boss