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The Unseen Side of the Culinary World

What really goes on in the kitchen…

By John Salloum

A picture of a pencil drawing of a restaurant. Half of it is in black and white and in pencil, the other half is colorful and a digital simple graphic.
Graphic By: GT Nguyen

Working in a kitchen is one of the most fun careers. You're surrounded by fresh food, get to cook luxurious dishes for appreciative customers, and at the end of the day, apply your skills to cook for yourself and your family. Sounds like the perfect job, right? However, the reality couldn't be further from this. Working in the culinary arts can be one of the most difficult, infuriating, and challenging careers.

A chef's day doesn't start when the restaurant opens, or even an hour before. A lot of work is put in even before the first customer walks through the door– from cutting vegetables and preparing meat to fulfilling catering orders. By the time lunch and dinner roll around, you'll be lucky to have a moment to catch your breath. The sad part is that for most line chefs, the job can be thankless. You hardly get to see the people you are cooking for, and any tips or appreciation are usually given to the waiter or head chef.

However, due to social media, new opportunities have risen for those wanting to present their culinary skills. Within the past few years, there has been a massive spike in culinary content online– no longer just Food Network.

These content creators can come from any background, culinary or not. One of my personal favorites, Binging with Babish, has never worked as a chef or even attended culinary school. With the current climate, it is possible to turn any childhood dreams into a career on social media, but this presents new challenges: creating a following online.

To make it as a chef, you must be driven, relentless, and a little crazy. It's far from the glamorous, elegant line of work advertised to children and is undoubtedly one of the most stressful and demanding careers you can choose. Nonetheless, those who still choose the life of a chef have a long and arduous journey ahead but will undoubtedly become respected and admired by those around them.

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