” Maintaining good health should be the primary focus of everyone”
– Sangram Singh
[[ DISCLAIMER THIS IS STILL A WORK IN PROGRESS ]]
Obviously you are here for a reason, just as I am.
So allow me to share the TLDR of my story and perhaps you’ll share yours….
To understand the life of a chef you need to understand the nature of the industry itself since it is as much our poison as we are its beating heart.
The industry is beautiful and yet bitterly ugly, explosive yet calm, peace and chaos… it breaths life into us and it leaves us utterly dead.
like two forces intertwining in a beautiful yet tragic dance… the waltz macabre.
The life of a chef is both extremely hard and utterly fulfilling, for a little perspective here are a few statistics, these are general and apply to chefs within Australia and New Zealand, but are similar in most countries at time of writing
– Chefs are in the top 5 highest rates of professional suicide
– Chefs are in the top 5 highest rates of divorce per profession
– Chefs are in the top 3 highest rates of substance abuse and addiction per profession
– Chefs are in the top 5 highest rates for mental, social or emotional disorders such as depression or anxiety
– Chefs have amongst the highest gap between pay and hours work
In the past 10 years, whether it was London or Brisbane, i have never worked a week below 50hrs and was realistically averaging between 65hrs and 85hrs per week. This culminated while working understaffed in the U.K. with 115hrs worked in a week.
Because of high hours and low pay I spent much of my time battling with exhaustion, fatigue, a dependence on alcohol, depression and many other factors.
On paper I was a successful Head Chef who had travelled the world doing what he loved, I was living and working in the U.K., spending weekends in France and other European countries. I was passionate, over qualified and highly skilled. But in reality i was still tired, still sore, still depressed and my health had plummeted while my weight had exploded.
Then my life imploded….
I wont exhaust you with the details of what happened, I made a list once and it hit over 30 items….. Sooooo fast forward 8 years, after a series of personal tragedies that almost killed me and a career ending injury I had a good hard look at myself I realised 3 things
– I wasn’t happy the way I was
– I wasn’t healthy the way i was
– If I didn’t change…. then I would die
I’m not going to lie, it makes the process sound a lot easier, a lot smoother and a lot less painful than it actually was but I came to the following decisions
First, the most important thing, my happiness. They say that success is managed not by possessions but by happiness…. and this is true to an extent, how many wealthy people ever look truly happy? So I decided that I needed to not just leave my career, but my industry as well.
I was still passionate about great food and amazing travel, but the industry itself was poisoning me.
Second, I was slightly over 142kgs ….. let that sink in….