How to Deal With Difficult Chefs
If there are doctors who feel like they are gods, then there are also chefs who feel like they are godsend gifts to gourmands and food lovers. Of course, with feelings such as this, it is not surprising then to know that anger, irritability, mood swings, and pride are often a part of their nature. They may have the culinary talents to whet appetite and satisfy hunger, but they also have bad tempers to deal with.
Difficult Chefs and Their Reasons
Let us talk about the stereotype “mad chef.”
One person that naturally comes to your mind when you hear of mad chefs is Chef Gordon Ramsay. You saw how his famous temper flew in his hit reality TV show, Hell's Kitchen, and you also saw how his chefs cowered in front of the great chef and his equally great temper.
Although it is too tempting to think that it was just an act, it actually was not. “Mad chefs” are, in fact, as real as “god doctors.” With this being said, what made chefs more temperamental than others then?
It cannot be denied that the restaurant kitchen is one of the busiest working areas in any profession. People are always running around, yelling to be heard above the clamor, and carrying things all over the place. On top of it all, the chefs also have to pace themselves properly so as to serve all customers the way they expect to be served and cook the dishes the way they expect their dishes to be cooked, lest the customers leave disappointed.
With this hectic atmosphere, it cannot be denied then that tempers will fly, and tempers do fly that many chefs look forward to the end of their shifts to escape the hustle and bustle of the kitchen. And the whole thing starts all over again the next day! The hustle and bustle of a restaurant kitchen is constant that it can really grate on anybody's nerve. The busier the kitchen is, the more hellish the tempers become. Sadly, there are even some chefs who turn to drugs and alcohol to cope with the daily pressure of a busy restaurant kitchen. This definitely does not help in any way as it makes the situation all the more volatile.
Dealing with Mad Chefs
Short of quitting your job, there are ways on how you can deal with difficult chefs.
In dealing with difficult chefs, you should know that you alone can hurt yourself. If you let his negative comments affect you, then you are sure to feel the pain of his words. I know, this is easier said than done, but through practice and a lot of patience, you can take his negative comments and turn them into something positive.
You also have to remember that their temper is a part of themselves, not a part of you. So if a mad chef's temper flew, the best way to shield yourself against it is to think that you just happen to be caught in the middle of his tirade.
It will also happen that sometimes your temper will clash with the mad chef's. For this reason, it would be to your advantage to “count to ten” before opening your mouth and making the situation worse. If you already uttered some mean things yourself, breathe slowly and wait for your patience to return. It will not do the situation any good if both your tempers clash. Remember, negative response breeds negative response, so the more you respond in anger, the more heated the argument becomes. Responding this way is a total waste of energy, and let us face it, what you and the mad chef are doing is affecting other people in the kitchen as well. Negativity is infectious, never forget that.
If you have found the strength to control your own temper and fight back, then wait it out until the mad chef let off his steam. In the meantime, put yourself in the mad chef's shoes and look for valid reasons behind his quick temper. It would also do you a lot of good if you saw some lessons about what happened and come up with ways on how to avoid future conflicts like that from happening again.
Lastly, if the situation is finally over, never talk about it and stop repeating it to anybody you meet. However juicy it may be to retell what happened, it will not do the situation any good. If you feel the need to “let off your own steam,” write them down on a piece of paper. Just make sure though that you burn it afterward or throw it away, lest somebody gets it and it sparks a whole new argument.