Jan 21, 2018
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8 Keys to NOT Sabotaging Your Relationship When You’re a Professional Cook

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First of all, I am by no means an expert on relationships – for most of my existence I’ve been damn near miserable at them. It doesn’t help that chefs and cooks work long, long hours, holidays often don’t exist, and unless they work in the industry, chances are your schedule is opposite that of your partner. With that being said, like with anything, if you work at it, it can be incredibly rewarding. Here are some of the key ingredients I’ve picked up from folks along the way.

1. From the outset, get on the same page.
Your partner needs to know just how strenuous, all over the place and family-inconsiderate restaurant life can be. They need to know what they signed up for – if not, it’ll only take a couple months and a holiday season or two for them to start building up resentment towards you. Resentment can be lethal.2. Your partner needs to know this is your career, i.e. it’s important to you.
So much of restaurant work can be and has traditionally been transient in nature. Thus, a lot of people don’t take us seriously – it’s on you to prove them otherwise. Talk through your career goals together, have a trajectory and plan for achieving the things you want to in this industry. Why should they be serious about you, if you’re not?




3. Be Dependable.
If you tell your spouse that you will be home at 9:30 PM, but you aren’t there until 11 PM and it becomes a pattern, it will start to get very old, very quickly on the receiving end. If you’re going to be later than expected, call- that way he or she knows you’re not getting blitzed at the bar with the crew after work, when you’re supposed to be home reading the kids bed time stories.

4. Take time off.
It’s important to have downtown and some sort of balance to your work and home life. If you can swing it, ask for your 2 days off to be consecutive – so it feels like a weekend. That way you can plan short get aways, doctor apps, cocktail parties and your partner can depend on you most likely being able to be a part of it.

5. Leave work at work.

This is my biggest flaw. I have so much trouble completely disconnecting. It can be hard, especially if you’re used to the sous chef calling you once an hour with an ordering question. BUT, they will figure it out. When you’re home for the day or off, turn off the phone. Put it in a different room and nurture the relationships that are most important to you.

6. Include your spouse in your work as much as possible.

Okay, I get it, they aren’t going to be there on the line with you, but you can invite them and friends to wine dinners, and into the restaurant to get to know the staff better. The more your partner feels connected to your work, the more they’ll feel like you’re doing it for them, too.




7. Constant communication.
The more we reach out to our loved ones, the more they are reminded of how much they mean to us – it shows them that they are on your mind, even if you can’t be there for dinner with the kids. Also, communicate on a macro level – keep the important conversations going, the types of conversations that keep relationships alive and thriving.

8. Your relationship comes first.

End of story. This is a hard one to swallow for a lot of us, but the needs of your partner come BEFORE the needs of the restaurant. Be considerate and thoughtful. If he or she wants you to be at a certain function a month from now, go put your request in or make a note on the master schedule. If your in-laws are celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary, you need to be there. If your spouse wants to take a few days to get away in the mountains- go do that. Find a way to make it happen. At the end of the day, I think the effort is almost as important as whether or not you can make it work.Like I said, it’s NOT easy, but if you do it right – ABSOLUTELY WORTH IT.

LIKE ANYTHING, IT JUST TAKES WORK.

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