Slap in the face

Today was a reality check, Chef Will, who I love, decided to close today's class with a heartfelt personal version of the down and dirty truth on the restaurant industry.

- we will be paid next to nothing
- we will work 60 -80 hrs/week
- we should try to find other sources of income, catering etc
- our family and friends may disown us or think we have been kidnapped
- women are not treated well in kitchens
- everyone on the line, will be 18 -19 yrs old, who can work faster, longer and stronger
- working in the kitchen may drive you insane
- working on the 'line' for more than 10 years will kill you

I would honestly say that many of the above could be used to describe the life of a Chartered Accountant, except for the one about the pay. All the same, it is a reminder of the stark reality of the industry. For me, it was just a reminder but looking around the room at the horrified gaping faces of some of my classmates, it was clear that it was new information for some.

I guess there is a reason why Chef Will was not on the agenda at orientation, perhaps it would send propsective students fleeing out the door before the check cleared on their first tuition payment. But on the other hand, I think everyone deserves to know exactly what they signed themselves up for.

Not everyone is cut out for the intensity of culinary school or the restaurant world. Now, I am not saying that you have to want to be a restaurant cook to be here at school, some of the best students in class want nothing to do with a restaurant kitchen, but you should know what you want to get out of this, or at least that my two cents.

For me, the slap in the face is a timely reminder that the road I have chosen is not going to be easy, it will be physically and mentally demanding, it will require the endless understanding of my family and friends, it will mean the loss of all weekends and holidays and it may very well bankrupt me. But what I know is that I feel more alive after 6 hours of standing, sweating and cooking than I have ever felt in my life. Besides, I love a good challenge and I have never stepped down from a fight, so I say, bring it on.