This story is inspired by my parents. We got into an argument and it got me writing this (who would’ve thought).
When people say that “Because of COVID, your industry is dying” or “Why would you want to work in a low-wage job in your industry?” Or “How hard is it to put products on the table” or, “I think I can do a better job than most of you” (Sorry. I got a little carried away. But you know what I mean) I get really irritated.
Let me tell you this, every industry has its pros and cons. But the food industry gets a bad rap. It is a unique place where dreamers, misfits, crackheads, sinners, and wanderers come together, trying to make a better future for themselves. It is a place where people get looked down upon and give shit for the weirdest things. But in the end, we know what we signed up for. We don’t have a mindset like “I can’t believe that we’re working in a kitchen where people are happy”. We have that mindset of “I know where I’m working is a very messy and stressful environment. I know that I will have interest in learning and working here, and have some conflict with whom I work with. Let’s get to work”. I mean come on. No one would drop out of a high-paying job and work in a kitchen because they just watched 6 seasons of MasterChef, 13 seasons of Hell’s Kitchen, and 3 seasons of top chef. Wearing their chef whites and a giant chef’s hat that looks like a coffee filter (I really hope not. That would be super depressing. But also hilarious).
It is a dead giveaway that you’re probably not going to get rich when you first get into the food industry. It takes years to level up and master your craft, and then maybe, maybe you can get the raise or promotion you wanted. You’re not getting into this industry to be rich. You’re in this industry because you want to make something happen. Whether it’s owning your own business, being an executive chef at a high-end restaurant, whatever. Not only that, but all the pain, cuts, burns, bruises, struggles, and sacrifices will be worth it. That builds character and strength. It makes you feel like you’re an elitist and the toughest ass motherfucker in the room. I would rather be a person that has a great personality in the food industry rather than a corporate slave in the business sector that has a personality like sandpaper.
A good story is when my workplace hired a new person for a kitchen team member. She’s probably in her late 20s and doesn’t know what to do in life so she wants to become a cook. In the beginning, she was kind, excited, and enthusiastic about this job. After 3-4 days I look into her eyes across the kitchen and I saw the dream died (maybe because she was cutting onions for an hour every day. Maybe both.). I had a chat with her and she said that she thought the kitchen be a lot more glamorous and “heaven-like” (I don’t know what the hell is going on with her mind). She didn’t know that this was super dirty, hard work. She was in utter shock. I tend to be a nice guy in the kitchen, but if someone doesn’t have the same work ethic, skill, and passion as I do, I get frustrated. I tell her “Welcome to the real world where we get dirty so the world stays clean and happy. Do you fit in it? Are you in or out?”
At the end of the day, all I want to say to the high ego, delusional bastards at are outside the food industry, is to respect and take care of your fellow cooks outside of work. We’re just a group of people that likes to cook food and want to do this for a living. No matter what the cost will be. The people working in the food industry may be a bit weird and crazy, but I think everyone outside the kitchen is like that. And if somehow, somehow that doesn’t help you paint a better picture, I would highly recommend working in a high-paced kitchen or watching Gordon Ramsay’s boiling point (it’s a highway safety film for chefs and a horror show for normal people).