That Chef life, Holiday edition.

“How is your job stressful? All you do is cook all day.”


There’s tons of blogs out there that encompass Chef life. This particular post, is one of the few that I can actually get behind (with a few exceptions to some points he made, mostly because I am a woman and my lifestyle is a little different).

However, like most blogs, they’re very flowery and such because they’re bloggers. Then there’s me, I just occasionally vomit out words for the world to see.

You know, like now.

Explaining Chef life to a non industry person is tough. In general, there’s too much BS comparison period. How often do you see someone saying that they’re tired for whatever reason and someone will fire back something like “you don’t have kids, you have no idea what tired is” “When I did such a such a job, I did this.” “You just need to be more organized and everything will be fine”.

Just stop.


Criticizing someone/anyone for the life that live is just wrong and people need to shut their mouths. We’re all different, we all function differently and no one can relate or be empathetic or sympathetic to the life you live, unless they themselves share some similarities, even then, we all handle things differently. It’s great that you have a handle on your life, however it’s terribly unrealistic and rude to expect anyone to do as you would do when they’re not you.

When did life become such a pissing contest?

Anyway- Chef’s/Cooks fall into their own category, we kind of live in our own secluded world that most people have no real understanding about how it functions unless they themselves are also a Chef or an industry professional. Which is really, really frustrating when you try and explain it to outsiders. It’s a consuming career, you miss out on a lot of things because you can’t have a ‘normal’ life like most people. Chef life is rarely a 9-5, M-F kind of job.

I genuinely like my job and the people I work with (yes really) but let me tell you, the past few weeks (months?) have been nuts. There’s a lot of behind the scenes work that goes on in order to make your event happen. So I tend to get a little frustrated when people who have no right/business criticizing me about how I spend my time, why my organizational skills suck, why my memory is so bad or why haven’t I seen you, why is there no food in the house, why isn’t my Christmas shopping done yet, how come I don’t have any clean socks and more…

Here’s the thing, when the season is in a upswing, your time is no longer your own. You might go from working a few days a week to working weeks straight with maybe one day off in between. Those days that you spend at work can be anywhere from 8-12-15 hours a shot.

It’s exhausting.

  • Being a Sous Chef means that you are responsible for every single thing that goes on in your kitchen. It doesn’t matter who messed up what, it’s your problem period. Why? Because it’s your kitchen and you are responsible for overseeing everything that goes on. Every. Single. Thing. That’s why you’re there. Someone dumped a body in your fridge? Your problem. Light bulb breaks? That’s on you. Sauce doesn’t taste right? Didn’t double check that you have everything that you need? One of your cooks duct taped someone to the ceiling? That’s on you. You need to be five steps ahead always.
  • Perfection matters. You have to know the taste and consistency of everything that you serve and it can’t leave your kitchen until it’s spot on period. If it’s not on point, you best be discovering that far enough in advance so that you can fix it, or in some cases start over before service starts. Otherwise your service will be a train wreck.
  • You’re in charge of your team. While you’re doing your own thing, you have to stay on top of everyone else to make sure that they’re doing their job too and doing it well.
  • Failure is not an option. Chef hired you because they felt you were the right person for the job. You are representing them, their name and their reputation. Not yours. Clients aren’t going to contact you to complain, they don’t know who you are. That needs to be respected and treated with care.
  • Free time is scarce and very precious. Working in the industry means that your free time is extra precious and usually very random. While most people get Sat/Sun off, your weekend is most like Monday/Tuesday.
  • We don’t have time for you. This sounds incredibly rude, however, it’s not personal. I have had two days off in three weeks. Getting more than 5 hours of sleep is a rarity. Forget about eating at home, you usually don’t have time because sleep becomes more important. Food is something that is usually grabbed en route to work because you take the bus and need to multi-task. When time off actually happens after working that much, you have to play catch up on all those things that you neglected. So when someone says oh so and so has three days off this week, they also likely neglected to mention the two weeks worth of laundry that you have sitting there, the dishes that your husband kindly started and forgot to finish. The Christmas gifts that you so smartly started buying in June (yes I do my shopping that early) except now you don’t know where they all are because your house is a disaster and you can’t remember your own name, let alone where you put all the presents. Then you have to find the time to get the one’s that you couldn’t buy early or online. So that eats up an entire day because you have to go all over the city and take the bus/metro to do it. Gifts which also need to be wrapped, as soon as you find them because you’ve had your hands full since early November and haven’t had the time. Only to discover that one of the things you bought needs a replacement battery that you don’t have time to buy so then you have to run out and get them something else that night close to home because your gifts are being dropped off the next day. All the while fighting fatigue and a cold that’s creeping in and making you feel like crap. On top of trying to find the time to pack because you’re leaving for the holidays and you have no clean clothes. This would all be easier if we had a housekeeper, a dishwasher and a car. Except we don’t and all of those things eat into precious hours of the day because you have to make more time for that too. So it’s not that we don’t think you’re not important (because you are), it’s just that there’s other things that need to get done and sometimes they simply can not wait. We’re not being ‘selfish’ out of want, sometimes it’s a necessity.
  • We’re hard enough on ourselves, we don’t need your help. Chef’s tend to be perfectionists. Cooking is our baby, our pride and joy. Criticizing how we do things when you have no idea what we do is not OK. The only person I take criticism from is my boss. He knows his stuff and it’s constructive and helpful to me and my career. Which is something that I can respect. From other people? Not so much. Your opinion on my life and how I choose to do things is invalid. You do you however you see fit, please don’t expect me to do/be/react the same.
  • We don’t want to cook for you on our days off. Another one for the ‘it’s not personal’ category. Cooking for pleasure is something that I am rarely in the mood for. However, when I am in the mood for such things, than it truly is a treat so please cherish it because it’s a rarity.
  • No one cares that you’re having a bad day. This is a tough industry, not everyone can deal with it. We all have bad/off days, it’s not an excuse for not coming in or not being on top of your game. Work is work, home is home and you’re best to check your scene at the door. If you can’t handle that, then maybe being in this industry is not for you.
  • Know your place. Kitchens have a pecking order that needs to be respected. Don’t ever second guess or talk back to your Chef (even if they’re wrong or you don’t agree). No one gives a shit about your precious ego, except for you. So being a smart mouth to the Chef/sous Chef is likely to result in some form of backlash. Check yourself before you wreck yourself.
  • Holidays and other special events fall to the wayside. I’m very fortunate to have a job that shuts down for two glorious weeks for the holidays. However, the time leading up to those two weeks is complete and utter chaos. So time with the people who truly matter to you most likely won’t happen. Same thing with your birthday or any other special occasion. That’s when we’re usually the busiest and taking the time off isn’t usually a viable option, no matter how much we love you.
  • You have it easier because you’re [insert job title here]: Nope. Being in charge means that our time is more valuable, therefore we have a greater responsibility to the person we work for/under. Sure, we get paid a little more, but we’re also expected to do more. Which is only right. We don’t ‘get away’ with stuff/have it easier than anyone else because we’re management. We’re entrusted and responsible for the bigger tasks. We’ve done our time, it’s how we got to where we are now. That doesn’t mean that we don’t have to do ‘lesser’ tasks, at the end of the day, shit needs to get done no matter who does it. Someday, you’ll get there too if you want it bad enough.

So you see, we do more than just cook all day. Thankfully I love what I do and I enjoy where I work and the people I work with and for.

I wouldn’t change a thing.



I’m a tax payer too.

I shouldn’t have to write this because quite frankly, it’s truly no one’s business what goes on in my life behind closed doors. I have always been a private person.


I feel that we live in a day and age where there is no such thing as boundaries anymore. I get hate mail from random strangers because they don’t care for the images I post on my Facebook photography page. I get messages from strange men who are trying to stalk my friends. I get friend requests from people I have never heard of and pile of Instagram followers who are only following me in the hopes that I will follow them back or buy their wraps, nail stickers, sex toys or followers.

No thank you. 

I put myself out there in some ways because it’s good business sense. I’m working on cultivating my brand and getting my name out there while completing my studies. Which for all intents and purposes would technically mean: I’m self employed. I’m also a student.

Which was born and bred out of necessity. After I lost my job in 2014, I foolishly assumed that I would get another one in no time at all. I was a Chef, getting another job is super easy.

Until it wasn’t.

I hadn’t worked in an actual full blown restaurant in over a decade. The last five years of my career spent in a private daycare. People like to assume that was an easy, ‘cushy’ job. Sometimes it was, more often than not, not so much. My CV game was on point. The first 40 CV’s I sent out, not a peep. Which is odd, given the sheer amount of restaurant jobs in this city. So I adjusted my CV and used the acronym for my previous employer instead. Figured I was still being honest and it would at the very least, get my foot in the door.

Which worked, for a little while. Until I got to the interview. 

It was almost comical to see the looks on their faces when they asked what was ‘insert acronym here’. It’s mind blowing that people automatically assume that I make copious amount of KD and call it a day. No really, someone asked me that. Or there was the ‘ your CV looks great, but we’re afraid you’re over qualified’. OK well then why, oh why DID YOU CALL ME FOR AN INTERVIEW?!? Did they not bother to actually read my CV? Bus tickets cost money and my savings were starting to dwindle quickly.

So I revamped my CV once again. Except this time I left a lot of things out. Anything I felt that would imply that I was over qualified was gone. It did not however disguise the fact that I hadn’t worked as a line cook in forever (some things you can’t hide). So I went on countless interviews, all of which went swimmingly until the fact that I hadn’t worked on a line in forever came up. I had four opportunities before me, only four people out of the 100+ CV’s I sent out were willing to take a chance on me. Restaurant one was a hole, I didn’t measure up to their expectations and they sure as hell didn’t measure up to mine. I draw the line at leaving raw potatoes in the fry cutter so that there’s mold and fruit flies. Teamed up with the fact that they left raw meat out on the counter over night.

OVERNIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF JULY!  Who does that?!? Needless to say, that didn’t work out. Which is kind of a shame because the staff was really nice. Even if I didn’t feel safe eating there… At least I tried. At the very least, I was still in school, working towards my dream and goals of becoming a professional photographer. I got offered another job at some random poutine place but when I showed up for the job, the owner never did. Which was fine because I wasn’t too keen on working there anyway -but- a job is a job. Then I found a job that was ideal for me, my skill level and the executive chef was totally cool about my not being in a formal restaurant in forever. The job was mine for the taking, it paid well and I was excited until I found out it would take me TWO HOURS to get there since it was in the Dix30.

Well fuck.  

So I upped the ante with my courses at school, started hustling my photography services and contemplated re-opening my then defunct Etsy store. Still looked for a job of course. However that became more complicated because of school. The downside of being in the hospitality industry? There’s not a lot of flexibility to be had. Preference will always be given to someone who has a completely open schedule. I get that though, scheduling people can be a giant pain in the ass. Been there, done that.

Also, while this was all happening, my father was dying. So that was fun. Still kept looking for work here and there, was enrolled in university full time and fighting with Emploi Quebec to get employment insurance while dealing with my ex employer. Couldn’t find a suitable job that would accommodate my schedule/didn’t require me to speak French, wasn’t eligible for welfare because I lived with my boyfriend and he made ‘too much money’ (which is comical) and I hadn’t been out of work long enough to be eligible for any of Quebec’s social programs. Thank god for savings, the monthly solidarity tax credit and credit cards. Not the most ideal way to live but I would rather cut out my own liver than borrow money from anyone. Especially family…

Yet somehow we made due, on our own. 

I kept fighting my battles with the government, won my lawsuit, my father passed away, I kept hustling and I was finally eligible for some help. Which was about freaking time. Lord knows I’ve paid my share of taxes, employment insurance and contributed to society. I don’t like handouts or charity and somehow the universe provided. I got a handful of freelance jobs, revamped my Etsy game and looked into going to school full time. Quebec has an amazing amount of social programs for people who are ‘low income’ and want to go back to school. I was deemed eligible but between the holidays and having to juggle things between my agent to get approval from Emploi Quebec and the school, they were full for January. So I looked for other things to do in the meantime and registered at a different school starting at the end of March for French. You can’t begin to imagine how pissed I was to discover that RTC had opened up a new class that starts on the same day as my French studies.


So I had to choose. Did I drop out of the French program that I paid for out of pocket and enroll in the other program or did I take the French program that I needed to take anyway and hope that RTC opened up another program in June. So I opted to stay in the French program because I need to take it regardless. Given that the past year has been difficult dealing with my dad’s death and my anxiety and depression on top of trying to plan our wedding, I figured it would help me get back into the groove of things at a reasonable pace.

Which bring me to my ultimate frustration: People commenting on where my income comes from. Ever since I got engaged, I have been having to deal with a pretty undesirable litany of comments in regards to money. I am well aware that weddings are costly, yet some people, several in fact felt compelled to point that out. Oh my, how are you going to pay for that? We don’t want you to go into debt because we can’t bail you out (see above about my wanting to cut out my own liver…). But you don’t have a job. (um actually, I do, I work freelance). Oh you make money selling crafts? Really? Oh must be nice to sit around all day and do nothing (wrong). Oh I wish I had her life, sitting around taking pictures and making crafts all day (not as easy as it sounds). So what do you do all day, watch TV? (yes, that’s exactly it). You can’t possibly make enough money to live (we do OK thanks) and I could at least respect what you do if I knew that you were trying (to find an actual job) and the list goes on.

Quite frankly, I am tired of it. I haven’t said a word about it because why bother? Until Sunday, when after hearing three different comments about my income or lack thereof, I finally snapped. Where does anyone get off on commenting on *MY* personal life? Since when did it become your business? Do you think you were the first person to say something about this? Newsflash, you’re not. I could have/should have handled it better, i’m not going to make excuses for letting my temper get the best of me. Sometimes I’m an asshole. I own my mistakes and can freely admit when i’m wrong. However, it doesn’t disregard the fact that it’s no one’s business. Quite frankly, far too many people have chosen to make it their business. I have had enough.

I get being frustrated by the amount of people who take advantage of the system. I honestly don’t know how those people function, it’s not as if welfare gives you a lot of money. Even the stipend that they give you for going to school isn’t enough for one person to live on, on their own. The system is a lot more complicated than you would think. Trust me, I worked my way through it in sheer desperation. Had it not been for the fact that I have other talents that lay elsewhere, I would have ended up in the metro shaking a cup and begging for change.

I still might.    

Just to let you know, I pay taxes on the money I bring in. So before you make assumptions or feel the need to comment on things that really shouldn’t matter to you, know the facts.

Now you do. After all, knowing is half the battle. 

Priorities vs options and good intentions.

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There’s that saying: “Never make someone a priority when all you are to them is an option.” -Maya Angelou

Now don’t get me wrong.  Sometimes I am a sucky friend.  I’m the worst at keeping in touch with people at the best of times and it’s not because I don’t love my friends, I have legit memory issues and well adulting is hard yo!

I have learned one thing through the years though, even more so after moving to Montreal: who my circle is.  I have a lot of friends and I am fortunate to be surrounded by them and I am secure in the knowledge that they love me, even when I am not always around, or when I am not very lovable.

I have one very important thing in common with these people though: Loyalty.

I know who will be there for me in a heartbeat and I know who won’t.  Some people I can count on when it really matters and some not so much…  So it irritates me when some people complain that I come home and I don’t go out of my way/make the time to see them.  It’s not usually a secret when I come home (except for that one time) and I’m really not that hard to find when I am in Ontario.  Up until recently, I would always be staying at the same house.

Mind you, it depends on why I returned in the first place.  I had truly wanted to meet up and see a ton of people but I was just done.  So done with this whole adulting thing and having just finished up final exams for this term, my mom sold the house, my dad died and the list goes on and on.

I was SO very, tired this time around.

So sadly I missed out on a lot of stuff, but it was in part by sheer exhaustion, not so much by choice.  I made my mom and option this time around.  I didn’t come home to Ontario for a vacation per se. I came home to give back because I haven’t been able to help out as much in a physical sense, I was however pulling my weight behind the scenes which is just as exhausting. Except some people don’t ‘see that’ and it doesn’t count in their mind.

But fuck them.  Seriously. 

Anyway, it was nice to be able to come home and not only help out my mom but indulge her a little.  It doesn’t take much to make her happy and if taking her out for a few meals and doing some laundry makes her day a little brighter, than so be it. She’s the best mom ever and she totally deserves it.  She bends over backwards to make people happy, even when they don’t deserve it.

I did make it a point to stay later this time with the hopes of seeing/doing more but i’m old yo and when I don’t get enough sleep and my allergies are being douchy I get uber lethargic and it just takes too much effort overall, even more for those who would never respond in kind (aside from my mom putting my ass to work on the daily).  You get what you put in after all. However, to the people who claim to miss me and complain and carry on that *I* don’t make time for them…

Would you make time for me?  Montreal isn’t that far, I’ve lived there for 11 years now and only five of my friends have made the trip to see me.  I don’t care about your excuses.  I know some circumstances can’t be helped, I totally get that…  However I am unemployed, a student and yet I made the trek for the second time this year.  There are SO many ways to come see me on the cheap, you just need to be willing to do them.

So your excuse(s) is invalid. 

I committed career suicide.


I’ll admit it, I’ve gotten really spoiled the past few years with a nice cushy culinary job.

I earned it. 

What a lot of people don’t realize is that the culinary industry is very egocentric and God help your sorry ass if you have a vagina and are *gasp* better at something than some guy on your line.  It’s also very, very sexist.  Growing up and pursuing this particular art form was nothing short of a hellish nightmare.  I was constantly told that I would never make it as a Chef.

Except I did.  I even wrote my own damn cook book too.  Because I am AWESOME. 

I have spent the last 4.5 years in a upscale, private daycare.  On June 13th 2014 I was unceremoniously fired for reasons I can not currently discuss in a public forum.

So I did what any self respecting Chef would do.  Dusted off my CV (which is a work of art) and hit the ground running looking for work.  There is no shortage of restaurants in this lovely city and generally at any point I found myself without a job I always found one within a week or two.  Usually within in a few days.  When you work in a restaurant, jobs as a line cook are plentiful.  As are other higher ranked opportunities (such as Chef de partie, sous chef and so forth).

That is until you work in a daycare for almost five years…

That right there?  That’s what you call career suicide.

I have lost count of how many CV’s I have sent out.  I have, to be fair gotten my fair share of call backs as well.  Which is great until you show up for the interview and they compliment you on how ballin your CV is, but then when it gets to your qualifications and experience, it’s like they never read the fucking thing!?!  It’s pretty clear that I haven’t worked on a line in almost five years and I’m straight up about that too.

Oh and I can’t forget the times that I have been either scheduled for a job trial and/or an interview only to show up and be told that the position has been filled.  Because clearly calling me as a courtesy is too taxing for you.


So I finally caught a break.

Or so I thought. 

I accepted a job at a not to be disclosed location and all of a sudden I became the most popular person ever!  My phone was going INSANE with interviews and job offers.  I have one place BEGGING me to come there.  Except I had committed to one and I told the others that I would get back to them.

Well the really nice, high paying sous chef job required me to be more bilingual than I am and that made me sad because I couldn’t accept it in the end.  Another job trial was in a production kitchen but the kitchen manager was a giant douche bag and I knew the minute I laid eyes on him, it wasn’t going to work out.  I was right.  Which was fine actually because holy shit listening to CJAD all day and cutting vegetables? zzzzzzzzzzz  Yeah I would have done it for now because well bills and stuff.  I could go on and on but needless to say, it just wasn’t working out.  It’s basically been what’s stated above, lather, rinse, repeat.
I need a few days to settle in somewhere and get organized.  The first few shifts for me are always clumsy and awkward but you team that up with not being in that environment for so long?

You’re fucked.

Metaphorically it’s like this: It’s like an old friend you’ve known for years and years and all of a sudden you don’t talk for 4.5 years.  Then you get reunited.  Which is great, it’s familiar but a lot has changed too.  So you need to spend time playing catch up with this person.

Except no one can afford to give you that time, or you’re not French speaking enough or lacking your papers or a car and the list goes on and on.

So I took the last option I had handed to me, they’re really nice people, gorgeous restaurant and then as we were setting up to open I noticed that there was 4 different types of meat on the counter.  I put my hand on them thinking that they had just been pulled out of the fridge.  Nope.


Oh hell no.

So.  So much for that place.  Back to the grind I go, more interviews, more of the oh, you’ve been out of restaurants for a while.  Yeah this isn’t going to work out (Again, read my f’ing CV jackass).

Yet I didn’t give up, that is until yesterday.  I had a training shift schedule at a place that I thought would be a good re-introduction back into a line.  I was flat out honest about where I stood, how long it had been since I had worked on a line and blah blah blah.  He didn’t care, thanked me for being honest and I thought OK cool it’ll do for now.   I was asked to be there at 5pm and I waited and I waited until 5:30 and that’s when I left.  Because if you can’t be bothered to be there on time or at least make the effort to call me or your restaurant, that says a lot of things about you and they’re not nice.

I had one last interview today.  It was more of the same, but I got points for being honest.  No real loss there, the place is an hour away.  *Note to self, no more jobs in the mile end.

So that being said, i’m moving onto to other things I’ve had in the works for a few weeks.  Just need to finalize some details first.