Why Not to Be a Chef

Don't even get started.
Don’t even get started. Photo: iStockphoto

So you want to be a chef? Over the weekend, The Daily News offered a battery of advice from established chefs that should be sufficient to change your mind. The piece leads off with Annisa’s Anita Lo warning of the horrors of the kitchen, its burns and cuts and long hours: “A lot of people, if they knew what it was like to be working in a professional kitchen, probably wouldn’t go to cooking school.” But even if you do want to go there, you better know all about business and marketing, says Aureole’s Charlie Palmer: “In this day and age, understanding marketing is a huge thing. If you can’t market yourself, you’re dead, especially in New York City.” Chris Lee of Gilt says you better go to cooking school, though, because “if you don’t have the foundation, which to me is schooling, you’re going to be aggravated, and you’re going to find yourself most likely leaving the industry.” Okay, check. But surely you can express yourself once you do get to the kitchen, right? Not so fast! You’re just a flunky starting out, says Marcus Samuelsson of Aquavit: “People want to do it the quick way, but it takes a long time before it’s about you. I found it calming peeling the carrots. I enjoyed cleaning the fish.” This career sounds fantastic! Where do we sign up?

New York’s Top Chefs Serve Career Advice [NYDN]