The industry is wobbly. The latest big name chef suicides are just the tip of the iceberg. Here it is, straight from the hip. And if you can’t handle the word f***k, read no further. Laura lays it out, dishes the dirt. And I will not edit it. They’re her words. Chef stress.
If you’re not from the industry, or you’ve had a (rare) dream run, and have been wondering why the fuss? Here’s just one chef’s take on her journey. And it’s not pretty. Chef stress to the max.
Laura wrote this under a post I put up asking chefs if they felt there was a need for something like “Off the Hotplate” – an online counseling/training service to teach chefs better ways of dealing with stress and emotions, and to give them tools to raise their quality of life. Chef stress and suicide needs to be a thing of the past.
One chef made a bit of a smart arse comment in the vein of a lot of chefs out there – “suck it up, we’re chefs, if you girls can’t handle the heat, get out of the kitchen,” sort of thing. Laura let him have it. And I really think her words hit home. Here they are, fucks and all….
“Rob …, oh you want me to list all of the reasons why I’m self employed now instead of still working in the restaurants?
- Well the 80hour weeks for one. I’m fine with 50-60 but 80 burns me out rather quick (companies seem to have forgotten that human beings’ effectiveness is greatly diminished after 40 hours)
- I always made a couple bucks less than my male counterparts even though I did half their work for them
- I loved working an 80 hour week and checking my hours on my paycheck and discovering that they only paid me for 60 – or going to click out after a 12 hour day to discover that they had clocked me out at 8 hours!
- Or the constant sexual harassment (I can handle words but having to tolerate inappropriate contact because I needed my job was unacceptable)
- Or having them raid my prep every day and
- Having to work 3 times as hard as the men for the same amount of respect that they got, for arriving to work with a penis and doing a mediocre job
- Or the fact that there were no benefits at all, no time off ever,
- And always having things mansplained to me by less qualified men.
- Or having fuckers like you tell me that I’m lazy and entitled for wanting to work less hours for enough pay to survive. It’s not like I had time to blow my paychecks on anything other than bills
- I have no problem working hard. I have a problem working my ass off for someone who treats me as less than human and then tells me I’m being unreasonable for wanting the same base level of respect that my male counterparts got
- I put in ten years before the industry found my breaking point and mind you everyone has a breaking point and the restaurant Industry is very good at finding it
- And for the record I’m self-employed now. I work around 60 hours a week still freelancing cakes and candies
- I have no problem working. But the pay wasn’t even close to covering all my bills so you, good sir, need to check your fucking attitude because it’s people like you that are the reason I’m done with the restaurant industry. Go fuck yourself!
- At least I no longer want to blow out my brains on a daily basis because of working in hell. I love the food and I love the rush of the line and I’m good at it, but it’s fucks like you that I can’t fucking handle.
- Treat your employees like fucking human beings and maybe you won’t have as much turnover…
In case you’re curious, ‘Rob …’ didn’t respond! We laughed about that. Seems the very brave bullies are as gutless on line as they are in real life. And if you’re shocked at the treatment that Laura’s put up with throughout her chef life, she’s not alone – by a long shot.
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