Being a chef is hard work. It involves crazy hours, rapid-fire orders, tough critics and a lot of heat -- literally and figuratively. With the amount of pressure that comes with the job, you might wonder why people choose to become chefs. That’s a great question. And the answers stem from a variety of sources, each depending on the personality and desires of the cook behind the stove.
Many chefs choose their profession because they simply love food. They get great pleasure from eating and enjoy flavorful meals that enhance their moods and their bodies. Chefs who love food know their way around a supermarket and are familiar with more than just the common ingredients. They enjoy learning about spices, using unique fruits and vegetables, and they know the difference between items like kale and collard greens. This love for food and knowledge of the industry leads them to enjoy successful careers as chefs.
Chefs also choose the profession when they have a strong desire to express their creativity. Being a chef can take on the nature of being an artist when a creative cook steps up to the stove. Creative chefs view their dishes as masterpieces and they enjoy making up new recipes and experimenting with flavors, textures, shapes and colors. Those who choose to be chefs as a way of expressing their inner creativity can cook their way into signature dishes that draw loyal customers who enjoy the one-of-a-kind meals.
Service with a Smile
Some chefs love serving others. According to University of Northern Colorado unit chef Jason Kearns, that's why he became a chef in the first place. Cooking meals is one way they can bring joy into the lives of others. They view their job as a way to make someone’s life easier or happier or to treat patrons to a delicious favorite after a long day. Servant-hearted chefs enjoy the fact that they can make a difference, and their ability to help others allows them to endure even the most pressure-packed days on the job.
Passion to Perform
Performance-driven, high-spirited chefs find the industry to be a great outlet for competition. This desire to be the best has spawned a demand for thousands of chef competitions across the world, and hundreds of culinary aces sign up for events in almost every food category. When it comes to their daily jobs, chefs with an inner competitor can feed their desires by conquering long lists of orders, trying to get meals made in record time or aiming to get the best reviews for their dishes. Instead of fearing a rush hour, these chefs thrive in it and look forward to bettering themselves and earning a reputation for excellent meals made in record time.
After graduating from the University of Kansas with a bachelor's degree in sports information, Jill Lee served for 10 years as a magazine editor for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA). Also a published author, Lee now works as a professional writer and editor focusing on fitness, sports and careers.