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Budding Chef’s Guide: Mastering Healthy Habits in a Tough Trade

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Cheffing is undeniably one of the most demanding jobs one can pursue. The long, stressful hours, intense physical and mental labor, and challenging kitchen conditions truly test one’s mettle. The path to becoming an exceptional chef can be as challenging as that of a top sportsman. The term ‘brigade’ isn’t used lightly to describe professional kitchen teams; their militaristic structure reflects the rigorous demands of the role. A kitchen’s pace can exhaust even the most energetic individuals, draining you fully by the end of the day.

Starting a grassroots campaign to revolutionize the industry, making it more accommodating, is no small feat. The culture of hard work permeates the industry because great chefs are perfectionists by nature, often working multiple services in a day, and investing additional time in preparation. This is not likely to change in the foreseeable future.

However, you have the power to change how you approach your work. As a novice chef entering the industry, it’s tempting to embrace a grueling schedule in an effort to impress your superiors. A strong work ethic is indeed admirable, but prioritizing your health is paramount. Ensuring your well-being first and foremost will help keep your mental sharpness intact, a crucial element for sustained success in this field.

Sleep Well

As a chef, the temptation to overextend yourself is common. The social atmosphere of the industry, paired with the inviting bar awaiting you after your shift, can easily lead to late nights and scarce sleep before your next shift. This pattern can easily become a cycle, where alcohol further impairs your sleep quality, doubling its impact.

In the short term, this lifestyle can strain your system. It can sap your energy, hindering your enthusiasm to progress in the culinary field. Prioritize getting a sufficient amount of sleep each week. Given the physical demands of the job, you may require more than the standard eight hours. This isn’t to suggest you should abstain from enjoying your life; it’s crucial to unwind appropriately. However, it’s equally important to be mindful of your sleep needs. Insufficient sleep can impair your cognitive function to a degree similar to mild intoxication.

Just as you wouldn’t arrive at work inebriated, why would you show up without ample rest? Ensuring you’re well-rested will be appreciated by both your body and mind.

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Comfortable Shoes

In a chef role, you’ll be on your feet for long periods. You may not even be able to sit down during your breaks. You should absolutely invest in the most comfortable shoes you can. Crocs are usually industry standard and widely praised among chefs. Just be sure that whatever shoes you buy are insulated, slip-resistant, and ideally steel-toe capped. Safety is just as important as comfort. An accident in the kitchen can be disastrous. Make sure your toes are shielded from falling knives or plates, and you’re not in danger of slipping over yourself. For more shoe advice and how to style them on any occasion, you can visit sootheyourfeet for more information.

Limit Your Vices

This doesn’t mean you must eliminate all vices, rather, moderate them. The nature of this profession may occasionally demand a coffee or a beer. It’s common. Unfortunately, it’s an unsettling reality that chefs often resort to excessive amounts of substances to get through the day. This habit can become problematic over time and, combined with the job’s inherent stress, can overwhelm even the most resilient individuals.

Many chefs smoke due to the relaxing effects of cigarettes and the fact breaks are scheduled for the employee to do so. However, you can be healthier here. Finding a great E-Cigarette through a website like will help mitigate your health risks and keep you productive in the job for longer. It will also help remove the carcinogens that can ruin your body when smoking. Also, never touch drugs. They might seem like a good idea when you’re in the party mindset after a successful service, but it’s objectively never worth doing so.

Eat Healthily

You’re a chef. One of the benefits of this coveted position is that you have access to great food. Ask if you can pay to make the most of the stock for your meals. You may even be provided a free meal depending on how cool your head chef is. If not, make sure you bring healthy, wholesome, and nutritious meals to work. Due to how much you move during your job, there’s a chance that you’ll need a higher caloric intake to keep yourself full for longer and stop yourself from losing weight due to stress.

Get plenty of high-quality vegetables, vitamins, and minerals, alongside supplementing with fish oil and a multivitamin. You also should supplement with Vitamin D3, because it’s common for chefs to work in basement kitchens with little natural sunlight. You need to provide your body with what it’s missing.

Stay Positive

As a chef, you’re bound to experience exhausting days. Some days, a difficult customer might send back a perfectly good meal multiple times. On other occasions, your head chef may test your patience. There will be instances when the front-of-house team fumbles their order staggering duties, flooding you with tickets, and compelling you to shift into overdrive to complete them. Amidst this onslaught of external stressors, it’s all too easy to lose sight of why you embarked on this journey.

Keep yourself inspired and motivated. Follow great food blogs and chefs on Instagram. Read the life stories of great chefs, such as the great book ‘Kitchen Confidential’ by Anthony Bourdain. Watch food documentaries that will enthuse your passion for food.

Above all, enjoy yourself. This job is hard, demanding, stressful, and crazy at times. But when you complete a great service or get that promotion, you’ll receive a feeling hard to attain in other jobs.

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04/10/2024 09:16 pm GMT

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