The Hidden Life of a Professional Chef
Last time I blogged about the stresses, strains and the wonderful privilege of running a dining club. So now you know that cooking is only the tip of the iceberg!
I love days @St. Johns as I can develop my skills and be creative. Even when I’m exhausted there’s the satisfaction of knowing I’m cooking for a living. Dish by dish my dream is coming true.
The doors @St Johns only open twice a week. My life as a professional chef involves lots of commitments and engagements beyond cooking food as I seek to plan medium to long term ventures (more on this on future blogs). Sometimes I balance so many responsibilities I feel more like a juggler than a chef! Here are just a few of them:
Never Ending Emails
Every day, the dining club receives dozens of emails. As front of house, David helps me a lot by taking care of the bookings and enquiries.
Aside from the dining club, many food related emails reach our Inbox – as well as a stream of admin from my other ventures: cooking schools, tailor-made cookery classes at home, food shows and charity events amongst them Doing paperwork for these events is not exciting, but is an essential part of running a business.
Finally, I catch up with emails, Tweets and Facebook messages from my fans. These brighten up my day. It’s always lovely to be appreciated and I’m touched that people contact me with a query or to give positive feedback.
Some days, responding to these enquiries doesn’t take too long. At other times, such as when I’ve had some national media coverage, it can take a big chunk of my day!
In addition to the dining club, I am often busy with food related events: demonstrations, cookery classes, food shows and media interviews.
Just like the dining club, each of these events will only last a couple of hours, but the hidden work is enormous. Each event requires significant planning and preparation if I’m to give my best to the event.
My life as a chef involves a great deal of travel. In the last month alone I have been to Edinburgh, London, Glasgow and Birmingham.
I don’t have a car, so I tend to travel by train. On the positive side, this gives me time to think and read. But during heavy weeks, when I have bookings up and down the country, travelling can be extremely draining.
Media Interviews are enjoyable events for me and take place quite frequently. Since the end of MasterChef 2011 I am often asked to chat to the press about my career, my cuisine, or to talk about an upcoming event I’m involved in.
Some interviews are quick and simple others take longer. All take a great deal of concentration as English isn’t my first language and I want to make myself crystal clear to the reporter.
As you can see, my life isn’t all experimental desserts and freshly made pasta. Becoming a professional chef has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I am happy in my work, which is a good thing I guess- because there is a lot of it to do!
I hope this has given you an insight into the hidden life of a Chef.
Till next time