Saturday, February 14, 2015

A Chef's Wife

Do you know a Chef?  Do you know a Chef's wife?  It sounds like the best job a husband can have! And the wife, well she should be thrilled to have a husband who cooks delicious food, and has a great job!

Think again!  

I am a Chef's wife. Let me tell you, it is a hard job! Yes, my husband cooks awesome food. No, I do not get to taste it very often!

I have a great husband, and this is in no way an attack on him, but let me tell you a little about being a Chef's wife. First of all, a Chef cannot just "ask for a day off." Not how it works. They are the head of the kitchen, and if there is business, they cannot just "take the day off". So what this means for friends and family of a Chef: don't get upset that they can't be at your party or event. The wife will be there with the kids to show her support. 

As head of the kitchen the Chef is responsible for filling in wherever and whenever needed. Calls at 4am, 7am, 9pm, or anytime really is NORMAL, and to be expected by a Chef's wife. And don't be surprised if when he hangs up the phone the words "I have to go in" comes out of his mouth! Be prepared to cancel any and all plans you made for his supposed to be day off.

Holidays do NOT get celebrated on the actual holiday. My husband and I have been together for 14 years and I can count on one hand how many holidays we actually celebrated on the right day. People like to eat out on holidays, so he has to be there to support his staff, show them that he will work right beside them, and that they are not the only ones who are not with their families on the holiday. If the restaurant is closed for the holiday, you might see him, but he might have to go in and do inventory or prepare for a party the next day.

Your kids will want to be Chefs. This is not a bad thing, but a fact. Our boys are constantly "making fish orders" on their pretend phones, cooking up awesome cuisines, and my 2 year old told my 6 year old yesterday "pass me the chicken stock" when they were cooking at their play kitchen. They know kitchen terms, and the correct names for kitchen appliances and tools. The boys go to work with daddy to help with prep and wear their chef's hats and aprons to be just like daddy. They will definitely know the meaning of hard work, and will have no illusions of what being a chef really means.

Expect to never see your husband. If it is the busy season he might go 3 weeks without a day off. And it isn't a 9 to 5 job. Depending on the restaurant, he might go in as early as 9am and not get home until after midnight. This is normal! And don't expect multiple calls throughout the day to chat with him or tell him about your day. This will not happen, and most times I don't hear from him until after the dinner rush around 10pm. He really can't chat or text when he is elbow deep in fish, or with a line of tickets in front of him. As for days off during the off season...well he might get one a week. The way it works is that he needs to cut his staff in the off season, and because he is on salary, he needs to pick up the slack and work the stations that he no longer has staff for because he had to cut them for the budget. So no matter the season, you might see him 1 day a week, but don't make any major day-off plans because he might get a call at 4am from his fry cook.

Being a Chef's wife isn't an easy job, and being a Chef isn't either! So if you like going to events by yourself, having only the kids to keep you company during dinner, having to cook everything all the time, never seeing your husband, celebrating holidays on non-holiday days, getting woken up at all hours of the night by the phone, and not being able to make any real plans, then a Chef is the perfect husband for you!

So if you know a Chef's wife, maybe come over her house for dinner sometime so she can have some company; come over for coffee and some conversation one day; or just give her a call so she can talk to somebody besides the kids! The next time you invite them to an event, don't be upset that the Chef couldn't make it. And remember next time you go out to eat that the people in the kitchen have probably been there all day so that you can have a good meal. Go easy on them.

Anybody else a Chef's wife? Ever want to start a Chef's Wives Support Group?  What can you add to the list?