Working in a Restaurant
Working in a restaurant has been hyped up by all the cooking shows and romantic notions of living the dream of the culinary arts, creatively combining tastes and contrasting colors and textures. This description, however, is far from the reality of working in a restaurant. The intense, high stress work environment is not for the faint-hearted. The combination of constant heat, pressure to work quickly, long hours, and relatively low salaries make the job turnover rates extremely high for careers in cooking. Depending on the location of the restaurant, the work environment will vary. This is probably the reason behind the current shortage of cooks in New York City restaurants: lower cost of living and comparably calmer work conditions are thought to have led would-be chefs to choose cooking jobs on the outskirts of the city. Regardless of locations, chef careers are intriguing, yet can be brutally difficult. So before donning that chef hat, those interested in cooking jobs and chef careers should make sure they are familiar with the restaurant cook job description, and that it is attractive to them.
The Restaurant Cook Job Description
During the restaurant hiring process, the restaurant cook job description is often left relatively unexplained. Restaurant cooks in the United States make an average $11.20 per hour according to a 2012 survey by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Imagine going out to a restaurant to celebrate Cinqo de Mayo, the Fourth of July, New Year’s, or any other holiday. Imagine being hungry at 2 AM and stopping in a diner to grab a bite. To put the hours of cooking jobs into proportion: someone is on shift at all those times, ensuring that you are getting your food and having a great time. Chef careers demand sacrificing hours that those with nine-to-five jobs have free. Meanwhile, during busy restaurant hours, the stress levels and yelling in the kitchen can get rough, especially combined with the heat from the ovens, open flames, and typically small area. Cooks are on their feet throughout their entire shift; no rest if there are no quiet hours; mess up and they are yelled at for the profit lost and waste of food. These downsides explain the high job turnover rate that is observed. On the bright side, however, it seems that more and more restaurants are making an attempt to hold on to their quality employees, by working to improve the conditions. Cooking jobs demand a huge amount of effort now, but chef careers can lead to interesting, dynamic, and successful work environments in the future.
What is it Like to be a Chef?
Being a chef will never get less stressful than beginner cooking jobs. Restaurant employment is a great start for chef careers, because it is a great place to get an educations, working up to better opportunities. The high restaurant turnover rate represents the process of weeding out the faint-hearted or those hesitant about following a chef career path. Even upon reaching the top, by opening a restaurant or catering business, being a culinary instructor, or following any other chef career path, the stress levels will be similar. The reward is in the success, creativity, and constantly changing and evolving work environment, which ensures not a boring moment.