5 reasons you should be a cook. And five more reasons why you shouldn't.

Cooking isn't for everyone. Long hours, bad pay, burning, cutting, yelling, absurd amounts of stress. I've seen it make grown men cry. Seriously.

So why do it?

5. You'll be a fuckin' cook man! You'll put on great dinner parties, be able to taste flavors you never noticed before, and have an absurd amount of cooking technique at your disposal. A knife and a sautee pan in hand will be second nature.

4. Your days off are different than everyone else. Cooks (the good ones) work on the weekends, and have odd days off...mine are Tuesdays and Wednesdays. This means eating out rarely requires a reso, and movie theatres are typically empty. Stores are less crowded, and you can generally get more done on your "weekend."

3. You hate mornings. Seeing as how you usually won't be getting off work until midnight anyways, your internal clock switches up a bit. You can sleep in...and when your buddy hits you up for a midnight beer, it doesn't seem so out of the question.

2. You get to eat a lot. For free. Seriously, you will be very well fed. People will cook things...amazing things, and ask you to taste them. You will save money on groceries, as most of your meals will be eaten at your work.

1. It's rewarding. You're making people happy. Seeing the fruit of your labors every single day is a nice feeling. There aren't many professions that allow you to pour your passion into something and see it's effect almost instantly.

So having said that, you really need to understand--this shit is not for everyone. Here are the reasons NOT to do it.

5. You'll be a fuckin' cook man! Beyond the stresses and pains of work, when you go to dinner parties, the host will either be terrified of you, or enlist you to help out. Or, you just won't be able to ignore just how bad their technique is...and it might ruin a great many meals for you.

4. Your days off are different than everyone else's. You won't see your friends that work Monday through Friday. You won't get to go to their parties, or your family members get togethers. You'll work holidays. Oh, and you'll be so exhausted on your day off that all you'll want to do is sleep.

3. Waking up before 10 am will become difficult. You surf? Sorry dude, you're gonna miss the morning swell. You go to church? Hope they have an 11am service. Did I mention that after a 14 hour day, going to the gym the next day seems a little less important. People will hit you up for midnight beers...or 2 am beers. This will not always be cool.

2. You get to eat a lot. Maybe too much. You will gain weight. You will have to eat terrible, horrible things that people cook. Your fridge will be empty, and the groceries that you do pick up on your day off will spoil by the time your next day off comes.

1. It's not always rewarding. There is nothing more heartbreaking than pouring your heart into something, and having your guest shit all over it. They say you can't please everyone. There will be nights where it seems like you can't please anyone.

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Zalbar said...

Wish I could do what you do, but honestly I'm 37 now and just too old to handle it I think, even though I think it's something that I would actually enjoy instead of the 9-6 slog every day getting fat behind a desk. kudos to you, and keep up the posts, I enjoy reading about life on the line so I can live vicariously through you. :)

Richie said...

Thanks for the comment Shauku. You'd be surprised how many career changers I see in this field.

Aaron said...

Richie this is an excellent piece of writing. The parallel structure you've employed is so important, because as cooks, these are the voices we hear in our heads during the highs and then during the lows. Placing them back to back in nearly identical language reminds me of how easily things can shift and how easy it is to see the negative sometimes. What I suppose I have to keep in mind is how intrinsically linked the negatives are with the positives. Stay strong my friend...the holidays are almost over.

Richie said...

Thanks Aaron. At the end of the day, its those lows that make the highs feel so good. Take care.

Josh said...

Couldnt have said it better myself. Think I'll post this one in the kitchen

Katy said...

what a neat post -- i really enjoyed reading it. hope 2008 will be full of the good reasons for you!

Richie said...

Josh and Katy,

thanks very much.

Josh--to be posted up in your kitchen would be an honor...we do the same thing with posts and articles we like in our kitchen.

Katy--saw you blog and really liked it. thanks for the comment.

T said...

Love this post. Would love to link to in on my blog. Friends and family don't really get why I've chosen this life. But I do. and I think you do to.


Richie said...


Id love to have this post linked on your blog. Fortunately for me, my family gets it...I come from a family of cooks and chefs. You're from Nibblers? I never made it in there, but it was always on my list when I lived in WC. Thanks for reading.

OrangeCharlie said...

I know this is an old post, but I stumbled on your blog just this week and it's really great! I enjoy the opposing views and themes in your posts; it's a great style and approach.

I actually decided to take a leap of faith, switch careers, and start working in a kitchen at 28. One one hand, I'm earning a lot less than I was and working a lot harder for it. And bye bye weekends. On the other hand, I love working hard, being around food and other people who are just as passionate about it. I would rather be happy where I work than make a more money and be miserable and bored for 40-50 hrs a week. I know I'm still in the honeymoon phase with my new job, but I do love it so much.