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20 Things Only Chefs Understand

20 Things Only Chefs Understand

Chefs do an incredible job under a huge amount of pressure. Here are 20 things only professional chefs will ever understand.

1. They want customers to be their friends and not their enemies

They know that customers are their friends but also their nemesis. If you are eating in a restaurant one of the most reliable options would be one of the chef specials as this is a popular dish made throughout the day. Also the chef will appreciate you choosing this dish!

2. They love to swear behind the scenes

They realize after the first three months on the job, that they now insert at least one swear word in every sentence they utter. This is the case whether in the kitchen or talking to the vicar after Sunday service.o

3. They know who to prioritise 

They know who they need to pay more attention to when both a celebrity and a restaurant critic walk through the door. Which do you think they give extra special service to? Find out in the Food Network’s survey of 25 things chefs never tell you.

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4. They don’t need the sunshine to shine!

They know that even during the summer months they will rarely ever see the sun, but it’s no problem, vitamin D is found in food too.

5. They have done their homework

They know that 65% of apprentice chefs go on to become fully qualified and that there are over a quarter of a million fellow chefs working in the UK. Almost 30,000 will join their ranks every year. Oaklands College explains what traits you need to successfully join them.

6. They know when to call it a day

They know that the finishing time is a moveable target. Depending on the level of authority, chefs have the power on choosing when to leave (in some cases).

7. They find the energy from somewhere!

They know that sleep was once their friend, but no more. If the shifts haven’t taught them that, the endless cups of coffee and cans of energy drinks have.

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8. They try and avoid cooking out of work

They know that they never cook at home. How many more hours standing over a chopping board or a stove can a person take?

9. They have the best communication skills

They know that they can communicate with virtually anyone and that they will form friendships in the kitchen with the unlikeliest of people, bonds which will last a lifetime.

10. They have the throne at dinner parties

They know that if they ever eat at non-chef friends’ houses, the person will have apologized at least four times for the quality of the meal before they even sit down to eat.

11. They just love food!

They know though that the quality of the meal cooked by their friend doesn’t matter. The joy they feel at the fact that someone else has prepped the meal and stood at the stove for hours outweighs any mistakes. That is apart, maybe, from actual food poisoning.

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12. They love their equipment a bit too much

They know just a little too much about knives, often having large posters on their walls about the many kinds and their uses. When you see a person with their own set of knives in a beautiful, but well used, hand stitched leather case you know they are either a chef or have something more worrying in mind.

13. They love a good laugh!

They know that a sense of humor is an essential requirement of the job. It falls just below the ability to cook but just above knife safety techniques.

14. They have the memory of a sieve

They have forgotten the names of more ingredients than you will ever know.

15. They never abandon the basics

They know that when you are learning to cook the recipe is all important if you want to create a successful dish. Once you are a senior chef it’s you who writes the recipes.

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16. They know preparation is everything

They know that heating the pan or the oven before starting to cook is essential.

17. They know what they should be getting paid

They know that the average starting salary of a commis chef is around $20,000 per annum, rising to $43,000 for a sous chef and $108,000 for an experienced London-based chef. For those who go on to run their own restaurants the figure is wide open and comes down to a delicate balance between their skill in the kitchen and their business acumen.

18. They love the taste in the process

They know that tasting the food as you cook is essential, especially for seasoning. Not tasting is akin to trying to sew a dress without ever looking at the pattern, or the material or the needle.

19. They know anyone can do the job

They know that while the prevailing view is that most chefs are male, in fact the ratio is much more equally balanced with 40% of chefs being female. This is apparent in the kitchens they experience every day.

20. They all want to reach the top

They know that the Head Chef does less cooking than all the other chefs and that their role is to oversee the kitchen, plan the menu, order the supplies, constantly check the quality of the food and plan what others are doing with military precision.

Featured photo credit: Three chefs – men and woman – in hotel or restaurant kitchen working and cooking in team via shutterstock.com

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5 Powerful Ideas on How to Be Productive at Work

5 Powerful Ideas on How to Be Productive at Work

Not being able to stay productive at work is a problem that everyone runs into at some point; no matter how much you like your job, there are certain factors that prevent you from staying at maximum proficiency throughout the whole day.

A lack of productive focus at work can lead to extra stress on yourself, missed deadlines, passed opportunities, raise denial, demotion and even termination.

So, if you are someone who has trouble with your productivity, here are five effective tips on how to be productive at work:

1. Take breaks

First and foremost, it’s important for you to take regular breaks. Trying to work throughout the whole day will tire your brain, which will then cause you to doze off and think about something else.

If you keep working your brain, it will fill up and get jumbled with information—sort of like a computer hard drive. Taking a break would be like resetting your computer so that it can start afresh, or de-fragmenting the data so that all the information is in order.

This is a great thing because it allows you to solve problems you were unable to solve previously, by seeing it differently; if you are able to organize your thoughts properly, you will be able to take in new information more easily.

There have even been studies about methods of saving time and staying proficient, and taking breaks is one of the leading factors.

According to Christine Hohlbaum, the author of The Power of Slow: 101 Ways to Save Time in Our 24/7 World, eating lunch away from your work area every day will greatly increase your productivity. Eating in your work area will give you the illusion that you are working, but whether you like it or not, your brain will begin to wander and think of something else and then you will be working tirelessly with no progress.

It’s important to take breaks before and during work too: if you come to work in a rush because you woke up late, your mind will not be mentally prepared for the day ahead, and you will spend the first 10 to 15 minutes trying to get organized and composed before you can actually start working.

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Instead, you should try to wake up 20 minutes earlier than the time it would take you to “just get” to work. Take that time to stare off into space and not worry about anything.

If you do this, your brain will be empty and ready for all the challenges it has coming for the next few hours.

If your employer only allows a set amount of breaks during the workday, that doesn’t mean you can’t just get up and walk around for a quick break every now and then.

Even if it’s only 5 minutes, it will refresh your brain and you will gain renewed energy to do your job.

Learn more about The Importance of Scheduling Downtime.

2. Pace yourself and balance your workload

One problem that most people run into is that they underestimate the amount of work they have to do, and end up doing 50% of the work in the last 20% of the time they have to do it. This is due to an issue of balancing one’s workload.

When you receive a project, or are doing a job you normally do, take some time to really plan out your work schedule.

Consider how much time it took you to do this last time; determine how you can break the project into smaller parts and which can only be accomplished on certain days, and whether anything might come up that could interfere with your plan.

All of these questions are important for starting on a project, and when answered, they will help you stay productive throughout each day.

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For example, if you needed to design a project to map out the amount of aid offered in various regions after Hurricane Sandy, you can break it up as follows:

You will need to know what organizations are offering help to begin with, how much aid those organizations gave or plan to give, which regions were hit by Sandy, and which regions suffered the greatest losses.

You start this project on a Thursday and know you have until Tuesday to gather this information.

In order to stay productive, you need to plan out your work week—now you know you can find out which organizations are involved in helping the Hurricane Sandy Victims any day since that information is online, but gathering information on the organizations may require you to call them.

Since phone calls can only be done during week days, you have to plan on gathering all of that information before the weekend comes.

That is just one example of a situation in which pre-planning your project will help you stay productive; had you researched the affected regions first, you would not have received the info on the organizations until the weekend, and may have missed your chance to call them.

That, in turn, would have wasted time you could have spent working on this project to finish it.

Knowing what you need to do, when you can do it, and how long it will take you, is important in balancing your workload and being more productive and efficient.

3. Put your work first

This is an issue that usually occurs with young people who are new to the workforce: they’re often tempted with offers to go out at midday, and then come back lost in thought and unfocused on their work-related tasks.

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While it is important to take breaks, your breaks should consist of you clearing your mind, not loading it up with other less important information—like sports.

However, that is not the only situation where you need to worry about putting your work first before all else.

In a work environment, the senior employees will oftentimes push some of their menial tasks onto the newer employees. If you fall into that category, you need to know that their work is not your work, so if you have tasks that need to be done, you need to do it first.

If you are a new employee, you must learn to say no to other people even when it means you may not be in their good graces anymore. You can help others out once your work is done, but you are paid to do your own work, not anyone else’s.

4. Don’t open your browser unless you need them

In this day and age, everyone is constantly monitoring their social network. This is a major pain point for companies, which is why many don’t allow employees to access their social networks on company workstations.

When you are at work, disconnect the internet from your phone and keep your browsers closed so you’re not tempted to log onto your social media accounts or browse any sites that are not work-related.

If you keep your browsers closed and phone tucked away, only to be used in an emergency, you will find yourself being a more productive employee right away. 

5. Try to be happy and optimistic

If you always have a negative outlook on life, you will be more distracted and less motivated to get work done, so it’s important for you to start your day off right.

This can be done by having a good breakfast or by taking time in the morning to watch one of your favorite TV shows before work.

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If you are happy, you will find yourself able to work much more productively as your mind won’t wander into worrying about something else.

Also, if you stay optimistic and keep telling yourself that you can do whatever you set your mind to, the tasks will seem much less daunting and will go by much more quickly.

Take a look at more effective ways to stay positive at work:

15 Ways To Stay Positive At Work

Happiness and optimism are the keys to being a productive and happy employee.

All in all, heed the five tips above and you will find yourself being one of the most productive people at your company.

While you do not need to master them all, each and every one of them will help you become a better and more efficient employee.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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