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Just a little hello to those that know me.

All I can say and hopefully this forum is appropriate ;)

After cooking for a wage for a few months rather than doing what I truthfully love which is cooking with passion, I finally reached a stage in my career where it all became too much.

Working for people and serving salt soaked chicken breasts with restaurants being sold from underneath you it became all too much. So having taking a little R&R and back and raring to go, I'm now looking for my next challenge.

So though PassionateChefsDie they can also have a second coming.

So to those I need to apologise to I offer my apologise to those that don't know me I suspect over time you will. ;)

So has this career ever got to you so much that you needed some R&R ?

Perfection cant be reached, but it can be strived for!
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Stick a fork in me--I'm done!!! :laugh:

Oh for sure. It's called burn out. And the funny thing is you can't quite ever shake that smoked scent--always a little lingering in the air if you breathe deep--but you can move forward. Picture Pigpen of Charlie Brown fame surrounded by fumes instead of a dust cloud. And that just smoked aroma alerts you to invoke self preservation measures quicker next time.

BwwwoooOOOOp bwwoooOOOP

Hooray for the second time around...and the third, and the fourth...

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Lol

I agree bit dubious that R&R was a little to long. So I know to just get started this is going to involve some relief work, just to get my feet back under the table.

But certainly know that 9-5 stuff isn't all it's cracked up to be and I'm a lousy salesman, too service orientated for that.

Perfection cant be reached, but it can be strived for!
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Yeah, uh.........burnout? Been there! Doing that!

I actually think all chefs go through many burnouts in their careers......but we who are in it for the love of it keep coming back........because:

A) we're f*&ckin' nuts, and;

B) passion is passion......end of story.

A cubicle person I will NEVER be. I am only comfortable, and in my element in the kitchen. Even when it's the most stressful. :smile:

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we are crazy - I left another great white collar jo to come into the food business. I would not change a think. I love what I do - I work too much but don't we all. I burned out in the other world and even though I have burnout days every week - my staff is the best when one is down the others pick em up and while I pick em up a lot they pick me up too...so it is what you amke of the things that are beating you...

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I think there are different types of burnouts. There are people who burn out because they have pushed themselves too hard, and there are people who burn out because they haven't pushed themselves enough. As for the former, you can only work 80 hour work weeks for so long before something breaks. I know a few people who work themselves stupid, are very successful, but have a worthless personal life, no balance. No matter how much you love cooking (or anything for that matter) spending every waking hour doing it isn't a healthy lifestyle choice.

As for the latter, there are people in this industry who think they are meant to be cooks, chefs whatever, who have convinced themselves that they were destined to be in kitchens etc. etc. but are just fooling themselves. we all know cooks who are way too demonstrative about how "passionate" they are about food. Well are you passionate about food, or cooking? I think that sometimes people fall into careers for the wrong reasons, just because something seems like a good idea when you're 20 doesn't mean it will still be a good idea when your 40 right? Anyway I see people like this in kitchens all the time, and they flail, normally because they don't want to admit to themselves that they have made a career mistake and fall into jobs that are cush and pay well but don't challenge. I think one of the only things that makes life interesting (besides sex and eating) is progress, growth, watching yourself evolve, and when your not challenged thats when things start to fall apart, standards fall, and suddenly you're set into a host of new shortcutting bad habits, as cooks until we have our own kitchens the key is to keep moving along, keep challenging yourself, if your burnt out quit your job, take two weeks off, travel or skydive or take time to get your house in order or whatever and get into a new more challenging kitchen, its saved me from meltdown countless times. When your comfortable at your job it's time to change things up.

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I know a few people who work themselves stupid, are very successful, but have a worthless personal life, no balance.

Well, that's the only burnout I know.

As for the latter, there are people in this industry who think they are meant to be cooks, chefs whatever, who have convinced themselves that they were destined to be in kitchens etc. etc. but are just fooling themselves. we all know cooks who are way too demonstrative about how "passionate" they are about food.

Wow, I've never met one of those people. Usually the incompetent people I've worked with really hated their jobs. I've never met someone that has said, "Boy I really suck at this, but I sure am passionate about it!"

Maybe I don't get what you're saying. :unsure:

Teach. Find a way to work with apprentices or culinary students. Share your skills. Build their skills. They learn. You soak in their enthusiasm for your profession. Win - Win.

I actually don't think any chef in burnout mode would be the best teacher for a culinary student/apprentice. Ok I'll rephrase. I know I would not be the best choice for a green, shiny faced student with a lot of enthusiasm but little experience. In burnout mode, one has little patience. I'd also be saying stuff like, "You want to be a chef? What's the matter with you? You want to work like a dog for peanuts for the rest of your life? Welcome to hell!" People in burnout mode tend to be somewhat.....uh......negative. Not that I know about that or anything. :raz:

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Teach. Find a way to work with apprentices or culinary students. Share your skills. Build their skills. They learn. You soak in their enthusiasm for your profession. Win - Win.

I actually don't think any chef in burnout mode would be the best teacher for a culinary student/apprentice. Ok I'll rephrase. I know I would not be the best choice for a green, shiny faced student with a lot of enthusiasm but little experience. In burnout mode, one has little patience. I'd also be saying stuff like, "You want to be a chef? What's the matter with you? You want to work like a dog for peanuts for the rest of your life? Welcome to hell!" People in burnout mode tend to be somewhat.....uh......negative. Not that I know about that or anything. :raz:

In the 80's I taught the business courses at what was then called "The Restaurant School" in Philadelphia. I saw many a chef come through the staff that needed a break from the commercial kitchen and who rekindled their passion by working with students. My assumption is that those with a "Welcome to Hell" approach to teaching were screened out during the interview process.

Holly Moore

"I eat, therefore I am."

HollyEats.Com

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My assumption is that those with a "Welcome to Hell" approach to teaching were screened out during the interview process.

I don't doubt that. We don't want to give culinary students a negative attitude so early in their careers. That'll come later. :laugh:

In the 80's I taught the business courses at what was then called "The Restaurant School" in Philadelphia. I saw many a chef come through the staff that needed a break from the commercial kitchen and who rekindled their passion by working with students.

If you're teaching for the sake of teaching and don't have to worry about "getting the food out", well, I think I'd have fun with that for sure. But when you've got a green apprentice that you have to train and get the food out too, well, that's another thing altogether. :wink:

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This thread still lives.

I have to agree having read a bit from your blog Chefpeon I agree with much, and the petit fours reminded me of the chocolate marquis Bday cake for takeway, check on came in, chef walked up to me and said can you make one before he leaves. I'm sure I looked at him as if he was barking mad, but did it I did, even thinking about it I wonder how. I do remember it was turned out dressed with all its finery though.

Strangely when I read about passion, first thing I thought is none of the above to me it always has been about the ingredient. To me take a fantastic ingredient and ruin it, is the ultimate sin. Take the humble Scallop you have a fantastic 1½/2oz a full fluffy white cushion fresh as possible, to cloud it is just wrong.

So I find with my passion it is for the ingredient the other 2 are there but not firstly, more a consequence of the best ingredient and wishing to do the best for the customer.

To me it can be thankless job, the biggest compliment is the clean plate. You do have to be happy doing a good job.

But so much as a chef you can't influence or change, when you begin to see the whole picture how front house can ruin others experience, from laziness to pushing checks into the kitchen and expecting you to just turn it out. Owners chasing increasing profit margins at the expense of the ingredient.

Then you have the chefs that I call journeyman I'm sure you've met a few the ones that have worked for xyz blow there own trumpet, but yet still seemed to of missed bits, the ones I call recipe chefs, just give me a recipe I can do it ;) Recipes are guidelines the ingredient should dictate the dish not the other way around.

So many factors for a good restaurant are needed yet as a chef we control so little, to work with others that don't share the same vision. Working under others who are there to pick up pay checks, when you know there is better ways of just getting a pay check.

As for teaching mmm what a great Idea I may have to look into that more.

Perfection cant be reached, but it can be strived for!
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As for the latter, there are people in this industry who think they are meant to be cooks, chefs whatever, who have convinced themselves that they were destined to be in kitchens etc. etc. but are just fooling themselves. we all know cooks who are way too demonstrative about how "passionate" they are about food.

Wow, I've never met one of those people. Usually the incompetent people I've worked with really hated their jobs. I've never met someone that has said, "Boy I really suck at this, but I sure am passionate about it!"

Maybe I don't get what you're saying. :unsure:

I guess you don't. I think its pretty obvious that the people who hype up their passion and enthusiasm and skill level are the most insecure and often incompetent cooks. I can tell a lot by a cook on his or her first day in the kitchen. Invariably they are nervous, but the ones who talk about what they have done in the past, that question the methods and techniques, that act like "veterans" are always always ALWAYS weak cooks. The guys or girls who put their heads down, work, don't question things, take everything seriously are the people I think you want to keep around.

Maybe this is just something that sticks out to me because I work in a town (PORTLAND OR) inundated with mediocre (unfortunately its true) culinary students, but I have noticed this in every kitchen I've worked. If you really are skilled you don't need to talk about how much passion you have or who you've worked for in the past it just comes out.

Okay I wanted to clarify that.

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I've had 2 different burnout moments, different scenarios but related. First was as opening chef , working with owners(a family) w/ no experience in the industry other than eating out 7 nights a week, and a daughter in a sham culinary program. I burned out mentally and emotionaly after 2 yrs. of deaing with them. The other was in a private scenario, after 8 yrs of service, and a life changing episode, I needed a break from the extreme intimacy of the position.

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I've had 2 different burnout  moments, different scenarios but related. First was as opening chef , working with owners(a family) w/ no experience in the industry other than eating out 7 nights a week, and a daughter in a sham culinary program. I burned out mentally and emotionaly after 2 yrs. of deaing with them. The other was in a private scenario, after 8 yrs of service, and a life changing episode, I needed a break from the extreme intimacy of the position.

I've had similar experiences, although I work in the front of the house. Big and corporate can suck, but sometimes small and privately owned can be its own special kind of pressure cooker.

"An appetite for destruction, but I scrape the plate."

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Just finished burning out. Had a "great offer" set before me, which I accepted.

The "company culture" wasn't my style. They all came from another restaurant giant, adamant that they wouldn't be like "them". And they weren't. They were worse. At least the "evil empire" they came from had their act together.

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  • 3 weeks later...
we are crazy - I left another great white collar jo to come into the food business.  I would not change a think.  I love what I do - I work too much but don't we all.  I burned out in the other world and even though I have burnout days every week - my staff is the best when one is down the others pick em up and while I pick em up a lot they pick me up too...so it is what you amke of the things that are beating you...

Well now that it has abeen a while I can safely say that 2 days off in 16 is a great reason to BURNOUT --- SO I am diagnosing my self - Accute Culinary Burnout due to managerial incompetence.

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