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Working hours


SaladFingers
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I am contemplating becoming a chef. I understand this isn't a question that needs to be asked if it's something I really want to do but I'll ask any way.

How many hours do chefs working in a typical week? I'm hearing 18 hours a day, which sounds absurd and actually, a little scary.

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18 is on the high side, maybe if you own the place you'd work that much.

14 is more realistic. :blink: But not every restaurant does their best to burn people out, the first years of your career when you are paid hourly management will do their best to keep your OT to a minimum, so you may only work 9 or 10 hour days when it is busy and occasionally go home early when it is slow. When you get to be salaried, a few more hours a day might be expected. But not every day has to be a 14 or 16 hour day.

You're right. if you have to ask, you probably don't want to do it.

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I was committed to my own sanity and stood my ground and 8-10 hour days when I first started 8 months ago. I'm taking a short break at the tail end of my 13 hour day (so far). Other days I get out at 8, but those are becoming increasingly rare as we continue to grow. I think a chef v. a cook may make a lot of difference as to how you answer the question. Are you responsible for the business or just an employee? If you are responsible...then dammit, I need to get a few more items out before I go home or we'll be short tomorrow.

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some places pay hourly. so depending on how much labor cost is, you won't get to clock in more than 8 hours.. notice the "clock in". Some places pay by the day, meaning you might work who knows how many hours. Depends on what needs to be done and what you want to spend your time doing. Time flies when you're having fun right?

There is nothing wrong with asking. It just means you're doing your research before making decisions.

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I am contemplating becoming a chef. I understand this isn't a question that needs to be asked if it's something I really want to do but I'll ask any way.

How many hours do chefs working in a typical week? I'm hearing 18 hours a day, which sounds absurd and actually, a little scary.

I worked for a hotel chain and rarely did more than forty hours per week. Where im working now, come busy season im looking at 75-80 hours. So it depends on where you work.

Edited by Wesley1 (log)
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It's the difference between salary and hourly. I worked in both corporate and chef owned(a rosette place) as well as having my own. As a non management worker, you'll pull the standard 40 ish week. But as mgt. you'll work as needed, and in this economy it means more. Its the life, deal with it.

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Don't be afraid to ask every single question you can think of about any career you are thinking of pursuing. How can you know you want to devote your life to something, if you don't have all the details?

Mike

The Dairy Show

Special Edition 3-In The Kitchen at Momofuku Milk Bar

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Don't be afraid to ask every single question you can think of about any career you are thinking of pursuing.  How can you know you want to devote your life to something, if you don't have all the details?

Exactly. I'm very glad that Salad fingers is asking these questions.

Please be aware that scheduling will conflict with your social life. Shifts can change at at moment's notice, public holidays are worked and most definatly weekends. It's very important to acknowledge this, if you are a social person, or one who plays in a lot of team sports, you will have trouble ahead.

IMHO a "Chef" IS mngmt. that is, one who hires, fires, delegates, and cooks, a cook is one who prepares food. In the 28 years I've been in this industry, I've never known a Chef not to work less than a 50 hr week. 18 hrs/day can be very realistic during Christmas or when short staffed. As everyone else says, cooks usually strive to get a 40 hr hr week.

Ironically in many Union places, cooks usually work 2 or 3 p/t jobs in order to hang on to a 'starting" or p/t Union job

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thinking more about it. Not only should you be asking these questions, but you should be trying it out. Everyone can give you all kinds of answers about how many hours they work, but really the only way to know if something is right for you, is to do it. The best way to find out is to go hang out in the type of kitchen you think you would like to be a part of and see for yourself how it is.

Mike

The Dairy Show

Special Edition 3-In The Kitchen at Momofuku Milk Bar

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I'm a sous chef and I put in roughly 48-50 hrs a week, it all depends on what needs to be done. Especially if it's going to be a busy holiday weekend, for example during Valintines day week I created a tasting menu and I worked 9 days in a row averaging 10-12 hours a day. I hope this will help you saladfingers and give you some insight on what to expect.

"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast"

Oscar Wilde

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Yea go get in a kitchen and see if it is for you. I currently work 2 jobs, one is in computers and pays the mortgage, but the other is on the fryer at a four star. So I'm self inflicting 70-80 hours a week at the moment. The hours spent in the kitchen are like Zen for me. I thoroughly enjoy doing it.

Veni Vidi Vino - I came, I saw, I drank.
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There is such a range of hours that it's hard to even come up with an average. It varies a lot from place to place. I would say if you are working at or less than 60 hours a week you are beating the average. But thats just my best guess.

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I work as a chef and I have not put in less than 50 hours weekly since I have been at it. That doesn't take in to account the waking moments when I plan specials and organize prep lists in my head, as well as reading researching etc. In the busy season I will work 80 hours a week ( this lasts for about 4 months) no questions asked. I do this not because I lack a team that can work without me, but because I am addicted to the rush. I am payed salary and have never once worked less than the 44 hour week agreed, but that is fine with me. The work does effect your social life. I generally have one full day off a week where i do laundry and life admin, possibly a second day where i see friend s and eat out. the rest of the week its work from 8-9. I can tell you its difficult to keep a significant other with these hours because people in the industry really do not understand, but ce la vie you know?

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With this economy, a lot of hours have been cut at a lot of places. So, adjustments have been made. Now, it is possible to work everyday of the week every now and then because of the demand. This industry is not a 9-5 business.

At the end of the day, it's all about good food!

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Now is the slow season for me. I am typically working 70-80 hours weekly. One day off. During the busy times my work week will jump to 90+ hours. I have topped out at 127 hours in a week.

Tobin

It is all about respect; for the ingredient, for the process, for each other, for the profession.

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I'm usually around the 50-60 hours a week mark. When it's really busy, yes, i've been known to hit around 70-80, but that has been pretty rare

Cheese - milk's leap toward immortality.

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With this economy, a lot of hours have been cut at a lot of places.  So, adjustments have been made.  Now, it is possible to work everyday of the week every now and then because of the demand.  This industry is not a 9-5 business.

UR doin' it wrong! :laugh::raz:

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