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In a past life , I was a Chef. I was a dirty old, coffee guzzling, cigarette smoking, beer drinking, Berrocca shoveling Chef.

These days we are inundated with reality cooking shows. MasterChef. Top chef. My Kitchen Rules and a whole other array of cooking claptrap.  The chef has been romanticized, glamorized  and even objectified. It seems every man and his dog wants to be a Chef these days. So if you have this notion in your head..that one day you will be owning a lovely little cafe off the coast of Italy somewhere, sipping a lovely latte whilst chirping out orders to your sweet passionate kitchen brigade and churning out culinary delights, I suggest you try my 3 month Chefs Training programme. 12 steps to do daily over 12 weeks  designed to help you on your way to living the culinary dream.


 1: Drink 17 short blacks by 1pm and then cook a 5 course meal for your entire extended family in less than 2 hours whilst holding normal functional conversations with at least 3 people at a time.

2:Cease sleeping in your bed. Start exploring your neighbour hood for alternative slumber options. The bus. The local community garden. . A mall. A fridge. A tree. A strip club.

3:Smoke at least 17 cigarettes a day  in less than 3 minutes.

4 :Every time you come up behind someone , yell ‘BEHIND YOU!!’ The cat, the dog, the baby, your children’s school teacher. Everyone must at all times  know if you are behind them.

5:Drink for 2 days straight. Break your arm. Get stitches in your head . Kiss everyone you know who has the lurgie. Eat raw chicken and then go to work. DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES CALL IN SICK. Unless you are dead. Even then………you should probably still go to work.

6: Eat all your evening meals at 10 pm in less than 4 minutes whilst standing up.

7:Work a 12 hour day and then go on an 8 hour drinking binge. Sleep on the floor next to your toilet for 3 hours. Go to your current place of employment and work for a further 12 hours. Do not cry. Or puke. Or shart in your pants.

8:Turn your heat pump up to 40  degrees celsius. Wear pants and a jacket. Stand next to your stove with all the elements turned up to full and stand  for a solid 10 hours. In 45 minute intervals go to your pantry and tip one cup of cornflour down your pants. Proceed back to your stove station.

 9:Turn on your kitchen overhead fan, your vacuum cleaner, your washing machine, your dryer,your stereo, your TV, your blender,your bread maker, your de-humidifier  and any other noisy household appliances for 8 hours every day. During this time any communications must be yelled at the top of your lungs and every sentence must end with the word ‘Chef!’.

10:Peel some Prawns and make sure some of the spikes splinter under your fingernails. Then burn said hand with  caramalised sugar. approximately  1 hour later hold the same hand over a pot of boiling water for 3 hours. Do not show any signs of pain.

11: Wrap everything in your kitchen in glad wrap before you go to bed/fridge every night in less than 10 minutes. All the food in the fridge. All your pots and pans and perhaps even the cat. At least once in the 3 months…wrap your neighbours car too. Always good for a laugh.

12:Record everything Gordon Ramsey says in the kitchen scenes in a full season of Hells Kitchen. Loop it onto your MP3 player and play it to yourself 24/7 for 6 days a week.Shower with it. Sleep with it. Make love with it. Get a water spray bottle  filled with luke warm water that smells of cigarettes, coffee and last nights alcohol and spray it your face every time Gordon starts screaming obscenities. Every time Gordon says “Fuck” , you must say “Oui Chef” or “3 minutes on the pass Chef” Still love your job.

If you can follow these 12 simple steps for 3 months…….. You are well on your way to loving the life of being a Chef. CONGRATULATIONS!


4 thoughts on ““OUI, CHEF!”

  1. well done Tania,
    this is all too familiar, even though I was on the other side of the counter serving the food. We also had all the fun of eating standing up and smoking 2 cigarettes in 30 seconds. oh and getting yelled by the chef if food was left on the pass for more then 35 seconds. But I always felt rewarded by having the 8 hour drinking binge after work!

  2. This post is awesome, I can relate to so much of that as a working chef, great observation!

    I was a Chef. I was a dirty old, coffee guzzling, cigarette smoking, beer drinking, Berrocca shoveling Chef.

    This statement pretty much sums my life up, Whether thats a good or a bad thing, I’m not sure, But I’m a chef… which is awesome!

    • Awesome! When I was IN it… I knew I couldn’t do it forever. A month or so ago I was out at a gig. I found myself dancing near the entrance to the kitchen. Suddenly i got this BIG whiff of the smell of a kitchen. Every kitchen I have worked in has that SAME smell. In that moment…I missed kitchens terribly. That smell made feel happy, excited and exhausted all at the same time. Certainly some of my best years.

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