Titles don’t mean shit

If you get butt hurt by the following, you’re the exact person who needs to hear this. I hate to break it to you kids but well, titles don’t mean a damn thing. I know I know, but you’re the Executive Chef of wherever the fuck you work and you think you’re hot shit but think about who gave you the title in the first place? 

When I first started taking things seriously back in 2005, I was given the title of Sous Chef by a drunk has-been who couldn’t keep it together in the Kitchen and needed someone to do the grunt work. I was sooooo proud of myself, I wasn’t a cook anymore, I was the fucking Sous Chef at the Red Maple Inn. At the time I thought it mattered, that it was the culmination of something. 

I was the Sous Chef at the next place I worked and they worked the dog shit out of me. No problem, it’s the Kitchen, I’m used to it and I knew I had to pay my dues and learn as much as I could. When the shithead in charge finally quit, the Kitchen was mine and I was bestowed the title of Executive Chef….ohhhh ahhhh. 

The guy who owned the joint was former military who, all due respect, wasn’t really qualified to give any kind of title. I might as well have been the Kitchen Manager or just the cook, it really wouldn’t have changed anything. He could have put King Fuckhead on my paystub for all it mattered. But damn if having that title didn’t blow up my stupid 25 year old ego. 

Trust me, I get it. 

You put in the hours, you pay your dues, you give up damn near everything to get to that point and at the time it means something. But trust me, it really doesn’t.

In the years I’ve spent in the Kitchen, my priorities have shifted. Honestly, I just don’t give a fuck anymore since it has nothing to do with the quality of food I put out on a nightly basis. At this point the food is all that really matters to me and everything is just a distraction. 

Take my current position.

I’m a Chef despite the fact that I’m not the guy running the show yet the specials that I’m putting out are some of the best I’ve done in the past few years. I’m happier in the Kitchen since I don’t have to deal with the extra bullshit. True, I miss the money but I don’t miss the stress. 

It doesn’t matter if I’m calling the shots in a high-end place or blacked out drunk in some strangers apartment, the love I put into the food doesn’t change. Maybe it’s called integrity, fuck if I know. 

At the end of the day, the cream rises to the top. I don’t need to tell people that I’ve been cooking for over a quarter century, they can see it in the way I move, in the way I hold a knife and the in the food I produce. 

And before you say anything about the ACF testing blah blah blah, they’re now partnered with Sysco and thus have lost any level of credibility in my eyes. In other words, they can get fucked, just saying. 

3 Comments

  1. Maggie Lamont

    You ” miss the money. ” I think that’s where a title means something. Creative control, too. I had a title, I made more $$$. I got to choose what I made, etc. That freedom meant something to me. While working as a Personal Chef, I wore all the hats in the kitchen, dishwasher, prep, cook, manager, and that $25.00 an hour I made, I earned. I wouldn’t charge more even though I knew I could, living in the Boston area.
    I don’t feel ” butt hurt ” over your article at all. It does filter down to what you produce on a daily basis.

    1. admin

      I get what you’re saying. Sadly, I tend to flock to difunctional situations and have found myself working my ass off for the wrong people, thus why I do this. Thanks for reading with an open mind.

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