Fri, 14 February 2014
Young chef Zane Heemi caused a social media storm when his blog article Never ever become a chef: advice from a chef went viral several weeks ago. Within ten days it had been read more than one million times and attracted almost 200 comments. It’s a no-holds barred look at the long hours and harsh conditions experienced by some restaurant chefs in Australia. Zane started with part-time kitchen work when he was at school, and ten years later still loves the industry and he’s a lot wiser.
In his article he lays it on the line: you will miss important life occasions, there’s no such thing as calling in sick, you’ll learn all about drugs and alcohol, relationships will be difficult, the hours are terrible and management often treat you like dirt (language modified for a family-friendly blog).
I caught up with Zane and asked him why he was so hard on the cooking profession, and is this really what we need when the industry is trying attract more workers? His answers were articulate, positive and amusing - he wants people to be very clear about kitchen work before they feel the heat.
One question I didn’t ask that you may have an answer for: why do these strong, opinionated chefs take put up with these bad conditions year in and year out? We’d love to have your comments on this important subject. NOTE: kitchen language NSFW.