I am so sick of justifying the pay cut to work in the kitchen because of passion. I am irritated with hearing that cooks have this great passion, that we work these crazy long hours in non temperature controlled environments, that we are so tough because we do not take breaks, and contrary to many people’s opinion, we often don’t have time to eat ourselves. I am sick of hearing that we have more than it takes to put up with the demands of a fast paced and never ending physical workload, that we are mechanical in our need to not need sleep, to sustain solely on PBR and hidden whiskey, to live with your coworkers because its not like you ever have time for the house anyway.
Do not call me passionate, now that has become an insult. Many people are in positions that makes them happy that have nothing to do with making zero money. Why is it ok that cooks makes less than half of that of front of the house? The hours are longer, the job is physically tougher, it is dangerous, and you need a high degree of skill and education to fill the role. Food born illness and not properly handle food can cause serious problems. Not to mention, that you need to eat to live. Why do you trust the most underpaid people in America to sustain you with live giving nutrition? Good thing that you are tipping so well to keep that water glass full.
This portrayal of the passionate chef is not only demeaning, it supports the macho driven ideals that are already so deeply engrained in kitchen culture. If you cannot physically keep up with this near impossible work schedule, you do not have the beef to make it into the stew. This is an aggressive environment, where emotions and stress run very high, competition is fierce like a lion continually proving his Alfa status, but you are not allowed to show an sign of weakness, hesitation, or second guessing. It is this framework of egotism that exploits youth in the industry and keeps the kitchen testosterone heavy.
I am fed up with being exploited for my passion, I am fed up with portrait of the iron chef. Like this heroic portrayal of the daily struggle makes us better people. It makes us suckers is what it is. This is poetic rhetoric is keeping us all down. Keep your literature for fiction, this shit is real.