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What are your Top 3 major pros and 3 major cons of being a head chef in a restaurant?

I'm actually a beginner in culinary.
Of course I've cooked plenty of times, but I want to cook on a whole other level so I think knowing what I'm getting myself into would be a good way of deciding if I would have a passion for this like I think I do.

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Emily’s Answer

There are plenty of pros and cons of being a head chef, unfortunately I am not one but have been in the wedding industry where I have seen a turnover of chefs and different styles. My suggestion is to start having informational interviews for the types of restaurants where you would like to see yourself cooking in. They will give you real life situations and life experience.

The next things I suggest is to figure out what is important to you. Is it being financially stable, having a family, being on call, freedom to travel? Exploring what you want in life will give you a better idea of what the pros and cons are for yourself based on your needs and desires!

Something for me being pros and cons are the following:

The creative freedom
Being able to run an entire kitchen (leadership role)
Being able to incorporate something you love everyday

Long hours and weekends (weekends!)
Having to order and track inventory
Lack of opportunity to take off

These are based on what is important to me, I would expect yours to look unique to you.

Best of luck!

Absolutely informational. I love it!! Some of what you said is what I expected to see. And actually, I am working on an assignment on Informational Interviews. That's part of the reason. I came on here to ask this question. Thanks for the feedback!!! Ashley F.

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Tim’s Answer

Hi Ashley,

I've been an exec chef for 15 years in lots of industry segments. Healthcare, hotels, casino, fine dining, country clubs.

Creative freedom - it's very satisfying to create something and see it go from planning to the guest and even more satisfying to hear that they enjoy it.

Opportunity to lead - One of the biggest parts of being a head chef is leading your team and teaching your staff. I feel that to be successful you need to have a passion for teaching in addition to food.

Opportunity to gain skills at business - A lot of what a head chef does is run a business.

Having to run a business - I didn't go to culinary school because I love Microsoft Excel so much but business management is an integral part of the job.

Work life balance - There are some places that can offer a good work life balance. (healthcare, retirement communities) but if you're talking about a freestanding restaurant it can be difficult. Running a restaurant require a lot of time and dedication.

Physically demanding - My back and knees hurt a lot of times because I spend a lot of the day on my feet doing physically demanding work.

Thanks alot!! Your answer makes me want to do it even more. I dont mind teaching people because I do that at my current job without realizing it. It does get frustrating at times but if you know what you're talking about, it shouldn't be as hard. And I'm aware it's alot of standing but that's okay because I purposely get specific jobs where I know we have to stand alot so that I can physically prepare myself for when I do get into culinary. Ashley F.