With his shouty on-screen persona, Gordon Ramsay may not seem like the sort of person to dish out friendly advice but that’s exactly what a young chef received when he reached out to the chef in his Reddit AMA.
The chef seemed to have hit somewhat of a wall in his career when he reached out to Ramsay, asking:
“I’m working in a Michelin kitchen right now, toiling away, hours after hours, days after days. My dreams are nowhere to be found as I scale and portion salmon after salmon, shelling pods after pods of broad beans.”
“The closest thing to feeling any kind of joy I get is those rare moments when I walk through the dining room near the end of service to get some coffee for everyone, and there will be a few diners left, idly sampling those little petite fours that we’ve painstakingly ensured are all perfectly round, identical, and just plain delicious. Then, one of them will stop the conversation they’re having with their company, look up from their food and say, ‘Thank you, chef. This is delicious,’ and making the previous 14-hours of sweat and tears kind of worthwhile.
“My question is, how did you deal with it? How the hell did you deal with all the bull***, Gordon?”
It’s a feeling that many young culinary students have encountered at some point in their career and something that clearly resonated with Ramsay who responded with some top advice and the offer of some work experience.
“That’s an amazing question.
First of all, I’ve been in your shoes, and what you need to do is take a break.
So I came out of my training in Paris, after getting my ass kicked in some of the best restaurants in the world. I took some time off, and got aboard a boat, and was a private chef on a yacht. And those 6-9 months off allowed me to regenerate.
I’d run myself into the ground, as you described.
Cooking at this level is so intense. So don’t give up. Be honest with yourself, and take a month out.
Now if that month out – just stepping back – if there’s one thing I’ve taught my young chefs today it’s to work hard, and not get disillusioned with the bigger picture.
That’s the most important thing about cooking – you may be working down the road for me here in Atlantic City, but you could travel the world and still get a job in the kitchen, and still get time off in the same time. So that’s what i would suggest, stepping back for a month, shutting everything down, and then starting up again in 4 or 5 week’s time.
Listen – if you send me your resume, I could look at putting you into one of the restaurants as a work experience, if you want to see something different, in order to make sure you don’t come off the rails, to see something different, to create that level of interest.
Never give up. But don’t be scared to take a break. I did it myself, traveled the world, through Sardinia, Sicily, and had the most amazing time, and what i learned after that experience was that I could do in 1 hour on a boat what i was doing in 14-15 hours in the professional kitchen. It confirms what you’ve learned, when you walk into a new establishment. It shows how strong you are.”
What do you think about Gordon’s response? Let us know in the comments.