Every day I read articles predicting the demise of the restaurant business – in particular the inability of restaurants to attract employees. There are a number of reasons why this is true and most do point to an industry that avoided change for so long. But, this is not the intent of this article. I am directing this post to current, former, and future employees – specifically cooks. I will certainly not deny the seemingly overwhelming reasons to change careers or push aside the desire to pursue one in the kitchen, but please – hear me out.
We are only on this planet for a short period of time, so wasting that time is never a great idea. We should search for fulfillment, invest in ourselves and others, find a way to make a difference, and above all not waste a moment working without the pleasure of knowing that you are doing something that is gratifying. If you choose wisely, you might even find something that you were destined to do, something that is part of your DNA, your heart and soul, and something that charges with great energy through your entire being.
Many, if not most people find themselves searching for this destiny, but on occasion it just comes our way. I firmly believe that when this occurs it is a calling that finds you and not the reverse. This calling is very similar to that feeling when you find a mate or a great friend – when you know, you know. It is that spark of excitement; that desire to give into it, to embrace the good, the bad, and even the ugly – because it is the right relationship. If you have not experienced this yet – know that at some point in time you will – we all do if we leave ourselves open to the possibility.
There are millions of Americans who have been, or currently are engage in kitchen work. It is not for everyone, and in some cases it is simply a means to an end – a chance to earn a paycheck. But, to others this work is “it”. This is what makes you whole, what makes you want to jump out of bed in the morning, inspires you to find ways to learn more each and every day, to fire up your human engine and paint your art on a plate. To deny this is to resist part of your purpose and that would be a shame.
“It is your moments of decision that your destiny is shaped.”
This is a moment of decision for you. Cooking – real cooking that involves a commitment to learning, an investment in building a portfolio of skills, an appreciation for the ingredients you work with and the history of the craft is a gift that some of us are destined to share. Putting aside for just a moment the absolute need to make a living – it is important that how we make that living be through this gift. Whether you are a cook, a chef, a doctor, an engineer, a musician, carpenter, teacher, or a painter – the gift should not be set aside.
Restaurants do need to change – no doubt, but this will not happen unless we stay engaged with that gift that needs to find a vehicle for expression. To move away from this or to avoid quenching your thirst for a future career in food will always leave you wanting for that something that you gave up or pushed aside.
That something that you can possess, that you have the power to control, that you have a need to discover and nurture is the determination to grab hold of your destiny and find a way to give it the fuel it needs. Maybe it isn’t the restaurant where you have worked prior to the pandemic, maybe it’s not even the type of restaurant where you built your initial skill set, or maybe it’s not even the restaurant segment at all, but food and a career connected to it is something that touches many different directions in life. Don’t give up on it!
“Destiny is no matter of chance. It is a matter of choice. It is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.”
– William Jennings Bryan
You have a choice to make if you are a cook or chef, or someone who aspires to those crafts – if working in a kitchen is your destiny then make a choice to find a way for that career to work for you. One of the worst feelings is to find yourself saying: “If only I had….. I could have been……It’s too late now.” Don’t let regret creep into your destiny as a cook.
This is not a time to walk away – this is a time to work even harder to be what you were meant to be. When you know, you know.
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