Now this is what it takes to be a fine chef

Now this is what it takes to be a fine chefIf you are still contemplating whether or not you want to become a chef I hope that my previous post on what it means to be a chef proved to be educational, interesting and, most important of all, inspirational. Now, what I’m about to tell you next deals with the aptitudes of being a fine chef on more practical levels.

I’m not going to be recommending where you should study further or serve out your apprenticeship. What I am going to do is guide you on emotional, aesthetic, psychological and physical aspects which help fine chefs to cope well in their business.

You need to spend more time in your own kitchen

Most of you already know that the business of being a chef is highly pressurized, even at the best of times. I’d like to share a short anecdote on a colleague of mine before I go any further. Firstly, let me also tell you that is but one of the many internet resources which suggest options on how you can stay in shape in the kitchen. Now, this genial colleague of mine is one of the finest chefs I know. Not only is he talented, he’s also a brilliant businessman and quite egregious with people, staff and patrons alike.

But his problem is that he rarely has time for himself, not so much for the long hours that we keep, but more to do with his physical and mental well-being. Not by any means a heavy drinker, in fact he hardly drinks at all, he is a heavy smoker. Smokes and cups of coffee are his breakfast staple, and ironically for a master chef, he rarely spends any time in his own kitchen at home, preparing healthy meals for himself and his kids.

You need to be inspired by others

In fact, when he has them over, he generally treats them with outings to their favorite fast-food restaurant. Let’s just say that at his time of life, this is all a recipe for disaster. But on a positive note, I’ve never seen someone immerse himself so much in literature the way this bloke does. Apart from all the other genres, not a month goes by when he doesn’t have his canny nose in re-reading excerpts from our cooking bible, Larousse Gastronomique, recipes from our godfather, the legendary Paul Bocuse, and inspirational ramblings from renowned American celebrity chef and author, Anthony Bourdain.

I do pretty much the same, and I enjoy amusing myself with new work from my compatriots Nigella Lawson and Jamie Oliver. Fortunately for me, I also enjoy keeping myself physically active and in shape when I’m not in the kitchen.

I’ve got my regular gym membership and I particularly enjoy my long Sunday walks. I’m also a convert of martial arts and these days am also preoccupied with honing my self-defense skills. You can read more here how I practice with realistic-looking dummies while thinking about my next spring and summer menus.