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Old 03-12-2008, 10:30 AM   #1
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Chef's Hours

What are the normal hours for a professional Chef? I was thinking about pursueing this path before but I also wanna start a family and wanna be there for my family and wife. I always heard chefs work long nights and long days.

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Old 03-12-2008, 12:53 PM   #2
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Chef's hours are along and hard. It's days, nights, weekends. It's hard on a family but at the same time, with understanding from everyone at home, can be very rewarding. Only you can make that call.

It also depends on what position you have.

You might have to work at night sometimes but you will then be with your wife and child/children during the day. It's a trade off. It just depends on your passion for cooking and your wife's understanding of the hours.
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Old 03-12-2008, 01:55 PM   #3
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The hours a long, man! Weekends, holidays, evenings...you're there. And, you're on your feet all...day...long!

Think of this too: the average work week for a chef is 50 - 70 hours. I have worked some places as executive chef a regular week of 65 hours. Currently I am working between 45 and 55 hours per week as an Executive Chef. I'll trim that down to an even 50 shortly and I'll be happy.

Life is to short to give it all away.

Consider everything!!!
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Old 03-12-2008, 03:07 PM   #4
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It also depends on the type of restaurant, but remember that being a chef is not only a career, it's a lifestyle. And it might be a good idea to start your family before you take this path because it could be a long while before you ever reach being a chef.
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Old 03-12-2008, 03:32 PM   #5
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I agree. Also...make sure your partner understands the road ahead. Forget a lot of the family gatherings, birthdays, New Years, Easter...maybe even Christmas. When people like to dine out and celebrate holidays, you will be cooking.

Think it through.

On the up side, the money as Executive Chef can be good, you eat for free (and very well), you drink for free and there is some prestiege with the position.

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Old 03-12-2008, 03:37 PM   #6
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As a line cook, be prepared to come in around 2-3 in the afternoon and work well past midnight cleaning your station and helping prep anything that can be prepped for the next day (to save your morning prep cooks some work and build brownie points with those wizards).

As a prep cook, I was in at 7 AM and out right about the time service started, so as to stay out of the way of the line cooks. I would sometimes fill in on a simple station like salads and help out in the evening prep list if I was being treated really well by the line and the chef/manager.

All of the chef/managers I've ever known are present throughout the day. Period. They get there to open the doors and take the locks off the walk-in and such and they're there in the evening to put them back. Most successful chef-owners I've ever known spend literally 18 hours a day, 7 days a week in their restaurants for the first year.
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Old 03-12-2008, 03:39 PM   #7
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God doesn't even work as hard as us chefs!
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Old 03-12-2008, 05:19 PM   #8
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God doesn't even work as hard as us chefs!
Yep, he at least gets the 7th (sunday) day off for rest. Not so with a chef.
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Old 03-13-2008, 02:20 PM   #9
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I know people make it work with their families but to me my family will come first. I think i may go with teaching English and bake and decorate cakes for some extra money.
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Old 03-13-2008, 02:54 PM   #10
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I know people make it work with their families but to me my family will come first. I think i may go with teaching English and bake and decorate cakes for some extra money.
There are other avenues for this than working in a restaurant. In my area, there is at least one personal chef who makes home-cooked meals for well-off families and delivers them to their homes (Giada de Laurentiis used to do this).
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