Married to a Chef

People often ask me what it’s like being married to a chef. They want to know, who cooks at home? Do you eat foie gras all the time? How do you stay so thin? 


Well, people of teh internets, let me tell you, being married to a chef is EXACTLY* like you’d picture it: a handsome husband, sophisticated yet casual, with perfectly done hair and a TV-ready smile picks veggies straight from the garden and whips up an enormous feast. You and your friends gather round the table as he serves dish after dish of delicious food as he talks about his love for the ingredient, his inspiration, blah blah blah food snobbery blah.  


{*By this I mean exactly the opposite.} 


  Married to a Chef


No, no, friends. Being married to a chef is not like living in the Food Network. Your chef husband likely does not have a back yard herb garden. He does not sit outside on a tomato crate preparing a salad. Nor does he have a half-turn-to-the-camra-pause-and-then-smile like Rocco DiSpirito. A real chef is far too cool for that kind of bullshit. 


A real chef is hardly the tooth-sparkly-smile charmer of TV cooking personalities. He’s too busy making bathroom jokes, listening to punk rock and trying to out-crass the next guy to give a crap about perfect hair, Prada shoes, or social climbing. 


First of all, a real chef works all the time. If you have the good fortune of being married to a chef, you will see him for exactly five minutes per day. Weekends? Working. Evenings? Working. Holidays? Working. Christmas? Working like a son of a gun.


 A real chef will likely not cook you dinner. After a long day in the kitchen, the last thing he wants to see is a chef’s knife and sauté pan. And if he does venture in to the kitchen on his day off, an elaborate four-course meal is not in your future. Think pizza. Lasagna. One pot meals. 


And forget any ideas of going out for fancy dinners. Valentines day in a restaurant  with a chef will never ever ever happen. If you DO manage to get your chef husband to take you out, sparkling dinner conversation will consist of the following topics: the food is shit; he’s a better cook than this clown behind the stove; the menu is crap; the prices are ridiculous; and the service is incompetent; Shit. Crap. Crap. Crap.


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There are certain advantages though: an uncommon piece of cheese might be brought home as a way to say ‘happy Thursday’; a delicious dinner scrapped together from an almost empty fridge; a sandwich, beautifully prepared, the perfect antidote to a particularly difficult nap-time scream-a-thon. 


 


Being married to a chef  is often a party; you’ll stay out late. Together, you’ll meet a dude who’s just back from doing time in a Chinese jail, and the three of you will drink Serbian moonshine until five AM. You’ll laugh all night long. Inappropriate lolz, perhaps, but hearty, chefy lolz none-the-less. 


 


But is not all fun and games. Chefs are amongst the hardest working people you’ll ever meet.  A real chef will come home long after you and the kids are tucked in tight, wash all the dinner dishes, leave the kitchen cleaner than you could ever manage, and never complain about your burnt pasta sauce. He’s just happy he didn’t have to cook. 


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And then there’s this. A chef is a leader. A brigade of young, slightly off kilter cooks look to him for guidance. It is up to the chef to see the potential in people; to know when to push, when to hold back. He can read people. He looks at his team and intuit that what is needed to lift their spirits is an epic night out, or maybe a simple family meal before service. A chef is patient beyond measure, having seen it all in his years behind the pass. The most monumental of tantrums roll right off his back; he’s seen it all, done it all, and the most screaming unreasonable demand from the service staff fail to rankle him. He keeps his cool, gets the food on the plate, solves the smoked salmon crisis, and grows an extra arm to compensate for the cold kitchen guy who didn’t show up for his shift.


 


Yes, the hours suck, you’ll hear way to many off colour jokes, you’ll never really truly enjoy a fancy meal again, but being married to a chef is pretty great. You’ll learn how to properly salt your pasta water. And you’ll find the best father for your kids anyone could ever ask for.