Chef's arse: A problem only a chef would understand!

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 7th October 2014
Successful chefs are iconic figures in modern society. Their profession is as exciting as their romanticised skills. Nevertheless, we thought it was time to look behind the scenes at some of the less glamorous parts of the job and the everyday problems chefs have to deal with. sore-bum   Let’s start with the mother of all chef problems - chef’s arse. Chef's arse usually happens in the summer months when a chef is at their sweatiest. It seems that the salt in your sweat causes friction, like a bit of sandpaper wedged where the sun doesn’t shine, burning every time you move. It doesn’t matter how old you are, how strong your reputation is or how many awards you’ve got, every chef suffers from the dreaded chef’s arse. Now, there are numerous ways of trying to cure chef's arse. Some smother themselves in talcum powder. Others swear by Sudocrem. There are urban myths about chef’s arse at every corner. A trip to the dry stores mid-shift for a handful of corn-flour can provide some much needed relief. Failing that, Birds custard powder is thought to cure chefs arse and cover up the dreaded chef body odor with its distinctly sweet aroma. Chef’s arse can certainly bring you back down to earth. Yorkshire business Grizzlyactive have even created a cream to help cure the chafing associated with the dreaded chef’s arse. Last minute customers are a chef’s nightmare. I’m sure you can all relate to this one - it’s two minutes until closing time on a busy shift, everything’s clean and put away when some inconsiderate so and so decides to walk through the door. Shelve those plans for hitting the town or getting back early to catch the end of Match of the Day, get cooking! The worst thing is you can’t blame the customers, it’s not their fault, without them you wouldn’t have a job. So you just have to keep plugging away, bottle up all of that anger and sacrifice what little part of your evening you had left. Just to add insult to injury, tomorrow, it all starts again. Understatement of all understatements - chefs swear more than the average person. You work in a highly stressful and demanding job where time is of the essence and maintaining standards is imperative. Swearing in the kitchen becomes the norm. Gordon Ramsay said in his autobiography that even he was unaware of the extent of his swearing until watching himself back on TV. While he had no problem with it, his mum was appalled. It’s a problem all chefs have where swearing is routine in the workplace but unacceptable elsewhere.

People often don’t understand just how important a chef’s knife is. Your knife is one of your most treasured possessions when working in a kitchen. It is yours and yours alone but there’s always one, usually a new starter, who picks it up as their own while you have to waste precious time looking to retrieve it. There is only one thing more irritating than losing your favourite knife and that’s cutting yourself with it. Even a small cut can cause more pain than you might think, particularly if you get any dreaded lemon in there. There’s also the maddening sting that comes when you rub your eyes after cutting a chilli or a lemon. It can drive you mad and it happens to the best of us, especially, it seems, if it’s busy. 4298483-cartoon-mexican-chiliOK, this one isn’t a problem unique to chefs but when nature calls mid-shift it really is torture. The restaurant’s full and customers are waiting. You don’t have time to hear yourself think let alone take a convenience break. So what do you do? Well, most of the time you have to just get on with it, holding it in for as long as possible. What happens when the agony becomes too much to bear? When you finally leave the kitchen to relieve yourself, your return is met by angry shouts of: “Where the f*** have you been?” Everything that goes wrong for the rest of the night is blamed on you, but what could you do? When you’ve got to go, you’ve got to go. Chefs work notoriously long hours. They are sleep deprived, their feet are destroyed on a daily basis and often they have little or no social life. Work simply takes over, particularly if you’re a young chef trying to make a name for yourself. You also become increasingly aware of other people’s shortcomings. You begin to notice your friends and family’s lack of efficiency and common sense. These inadequacies bug you so much at work that you cannot help but become intolerant and appear short-tempered at home. What’s more, your friends don’t understand why you’re short tempered, offering advice and even having the cheek to offer culinary tips. It’s not all bad, being a chef can be very rewarding. If you love food you’re in the right profession but it’s healthy to remember that it’s not quite as glamorous as it looks on TV. Let us know what your chef problems are by commenting below or tweeting us @canteentweets By Tom Evans

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 7th October 2014

Chef's arse: A problem only a chef would understand!