After a long, hard 12 hour shift in the kitchen the last thing I want to do is to do more work.
I don’t want to get home and have to answer emailed questions that can wait until the next day.
I don’t want to have to worry about menus for the next day, month, season. I don’t want to have to worry about if the Sous Chef put in his orders correctly.
I don’t want to have to answer a call telling me the over night porter didn’t show up tonight and have to find someone to cover the shift or come in early the next morning.
Truth be told, though, I will do these things because I can’t help myself. I will always be thinking about dishes and menus and seasons. I will always check that the orders are properly done after they are put in. I will always answer my phone and help to figure out the situation because chefs are never off the clock.
However, I will do some things to help me make use of my downtime when I am not in the kitchen. In the morning I like to wake up and do 15 or 20 minutes of yoga to help get my mind and body going and awake.
After the yoga, I spend a minutes in thought, thinking about the day and formulating a plan so I am organized throughout the day.
I also like to have some outdoor time, even if it is just mowing my yard, considering we are inside the kitchen most of the day and get minimal sunshine in our lives.
After the shift I like to come home and decompress with an ice cold beer in a nice hot shower. After a couple of beers and a little Sportscenter I am ready for another day.