Chris Hill Blog: The Things I Would Tell My 20-Year-Old Cook Self

The Staff Canteen

In retrospect - what would you tell your 20-year-old self?  Chef and restaurateur, Chris Hill takes a look back. 

I’ve been writing a book about what it takes to create a meaningful career in the kitchen and these are some of the things that show up over and over. All in all, I think these are all pretty good reminders to apply to our lives, wherever we are on the journey.

young chef

There is no magic bullet. Success takes commitment and consistent effort. There is no ‘get rich quick’ scheme or ‘lose the weight without the work’ diet. Well, there might be, but it’s not worth selling a piece of your soul, to have a piece of it. You’ve got to put in the work. Your time will come and somewhere along the way you’ll learn that most of the meaning lies in the journey and not the destination.

Everything takes time. Time is one of our most precious resources — we hate waiting for anything, especially when we don’t know what the outcome will be. In much the same way that we invest in relationships, we invest in our careers and businesses with no guarantee of success or that they will work out. We have to trust and have confidence in who we are, knowing that all will come to be when it’s ready. Be patient and trust the process. Chances are things won’t go just as you’ve drawn them up — be willing to adjust and adapt.

Show up with the goal and intention of learning something new every single day. Carry a journal and write things down — revisit these pages, so that what you learn becomes something you can use moving forward. The more you learn, the more you understand about the industry and the world around you, which in turn provides you with a better sense of what decisions to make in the future. Once you become fascinated with learning, your curiosity will continue to grow – forever.

Do work that’s close to your heart — work that’s important to you. You can find other ways to make money, but one thing you can’t do is recover time lost and spent on work and projects that don’t fill you up. Figure out what it is that makes you tick and figure out how you can make a life and a living out of it.

Be hungry and know that every single day you have an opportunity to either get better and push yourself or merely go through the motions and put off getting better until the next day. It’s your choice every single day. Sometimes you won’t feel like it. chris hill quote

Sometimes you’ll want to give up. Don’t. Just keep showing up. As author Neil Gaiman says, ‘Sometimes life is hard. Things go wrong—in life and in love and in business and in friendship and in health and in all the other ways that life can go wrong. And when things get tough, this is what you should do: make good art... ‘

It’s all going to be okay. It really is. Sure, our careers take up an enormous amount of our time. So much stress flows in and out of our work lives in various forms – it can suffocate us and take us, prisoner. Don’t let it. Obviously, it does no good to turn a blind eye or pretend like everything is fine when all hell is breaking loose, but when it comes down to it, unless this is it and you are on your deathbed breathing your last breaths, you have another chance and another opportunity to turn things around.

As unsatisfying as it can feel, things could always be worse. Just remind yourself of how much there is around you for which to be grateful. Gratitude is always a great place to start.

There are plenty more and I’ll keep writing about them. I think this is more than enough to get started…

Chris Hill
Chris Hill

Chef Chris Hill left a job in the business world to follow his heart and passion into the world of cooking and the kitchen. Chris opened his first restaurant at 28 and grew into the role of executive chef.

Having taken his experiences in the corporate world, as well as those in the kitchen, Chris has built a large social media following centred around TV appearances all over the Southeast U.S., his writing, TEDx talks, and his mission of helping industry workers to lead fulfilling successful careers.

Chris' first book came out in 2016 and is a dive into what makes for a successful career in the restaurant world, and includes exclusive interviews with some of the world's leading and most respected chefs.

You can follow Chris on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and read more of his work here.

Don't miss Chris' latest book 'Crush your career: A professional path to a sustainable life in the kitchen'. Available on Amazon

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The Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 28th February 2018

Chris Hill Blog: The Things I Would Tell My 20-Year-Old Cook Self