As man into his 40’s now, I look back on a career that has been tough, exhausting, and thankless. The hours are ridiculous, the pay hasn’t always been great, your not treated with proper respect more often than not. Yet my love affair with “The Chef Life” is as strong as when I was a teen coming out High School. You might ask, how do I endure through such a pressing job and industry? Well let me tell you why I can’t and won’t walk away from this path I continue to take.
I grew up in a family full of professional and home cooks. Food has always been a love and closeness to food. From preparation to finish, the meal in any occasion was what mattered. Groups of us around the kitchen or grill outside. Gathering together no matter what was going to include a meal, most likely made by all hands on deck in some form or fashion. Like many future chefs and cooks I, like my brother and cousins would always be around trying to help and get samples before we eat! Just as much I learned from what I saw the adults in my family prepared foods with love. My uncle Earis McGee always used to tell me the main ingredient in food is love! Cooks around the world would agree with that statement and my uncle isn’t a cook by no stretch of the imagination. This foundation is why I continue to live this life.
Through this career of being a Chef/Cook, I’ve been able to visit some great places in the world. Worked with world renowned chef’s. Prepared foods of many cultures outside of m
y own. As a fan of the arts, cooking is another form that I enjoy. It’s also allowed me to meet many great people over the years. From a young 20 something man working prep for banquets and catering to line cooking in top restaurants in my hometown of Chicago, IL. This trip has been an education and great teacher in my own life.
The kitchen in a restaurant can be wild kingdom just cause of the different personalities involved. I always say that a great kitchen has to run like an offensive line in football. Everyone has to move together in step for things to be successful. Even tho your holding down your own spot in the line, how you work affects the entire line. The pressure can be intense and sometimes things get heated cause the shared passion that is shared among the kitchen staff. The long hours are due to having to prepare to put out the greatest food possible for every nights customers. It’s just like people in pro sports. They play sometimes injured, sick and all to please the customer or fans. Well it’s the same for cooks. You have to have the “A” game everyday. As mentioned in the statement from my uncle, the love I have for cooking is what keeps me keeping on. Being able to put love on a plate for anyone to enjoy is the goal daily for me!! To know somebody is enjoying a plate that was made by these hands is awesome to say the least. The kitchen is a sanctuary for me. It’s the place where I can get away from the world and express myself through food. My cooking style is as wild and eccentric as I am. I try everything in the kitchen. That escape daily is like food for my soul. Passion for what I do daily is the drive train to this locomotive. Thirst for knowledge of new dishes and ingredients is an obsession. So no matter what, It’s the chefs Life me.