Speak Up

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Turn Off the Chef

Now I know this one can't be happening to just me. Do your husbands/boyfriends ever come home with this heightened sense of speediness or aggression? They may snap at you, bang a couple pots and pans around, or be generally grouchy. If this is the case, your chef forgot to unwind on the way home.

Last night Erik came home and was cooking, but you would have thought STOMP was performing in my kitchen the way he was tossing around the pans. Then, I called him from our bedroom- I was going to remind him to check on our son who has been sick. Erik comes back to the bedroom and says, "Why did you call my name?"

Uh, say what? I was expecting, a "Hi, Honey" or "Hey baby, how are you feeling?", maybe even a "Can I get you something?". I'm 8 months pregnant, remember. This was just not Erik.

And what do you know? He told me the entire way home from work, which is about 45 minutes on a couple trains, he was making lists for work. And as soon as he walked in the door at home, he grabbed The Art of Fermentation. (he's working on 12 different kinds of tofu.)  He was the one who said, "I didn't really unwind tonight, I think I was still in restaurant mode." No kidding.

These high strung chefs absolutely need time to relax and decompress after working. I think most people probably need that, but it's different with chefs. They spend 12 hours expediting, shouting, giving orders, arguing with vendors, tasting, interviewing, crunching numbers, and furrowing their brows. They have to check that stuff at the door.

Erik should go back to playing Candy Crush on the train. Things were sweeter then.

Food is Love,


Kerilyn said...

I love that he knew that he didn't unwind. If only all of our restaurant men/women knew that they didn't get what they needed to come home as a somewhat regular human being.

How do we get them to intuitively know that about themselves?? Hmm..

Karol Bruno said...

Well, my chef came home very active, he wants to talk, and talk and talk about what is happening in his new job (and I'm 5m months pregnant and I just want to sleep, Lol)...Yey He got a new job as Assistant Kitchen Manager and they want to promote him as the Kitchen Manager in 2 months, so they move him to another restaurant location to fix and manage the kitchen...

Rachel said...

This happens all the time in our house and I am 8 months pregnant too.

He has Sunday/Monday "off" but I don't think he actually ever fully unwinds. Unwinding means we have to go on vacation for a week and that almost never happens.

Annie Wang said...

Yeah. That happened to me the other day. I say one little innocent kinda naggy thing and then *KABOOM*, a freak out.

Kellen said...

Hello~ I am new to reading this blog, I have been dating a chef for what seems like forever but really only a few months. He has not decompressed at all with work, but he has become more mellow when we are together, The language and his sarcasm I had to put a stop too because it was uncalled for in general conversation- is this just how they speak at work and he's just carrying it home with him?

In general he is a bad communicator-but in reading these other posts I see that most of them are...
I am trying to work at this new relationship- but his business is so vastly different from mine I don't know if I will ever understand enough to accept him with a one day a week off- but he is super loving and passionate about me and I about him-

Dana said...


I read your blog every day. It literally gets me through each day now, and I can't tell you how much I appreciate it. I've written once before, and probably will continue to.
Out of curiosity, how often does your husbands busy schedule come up in conversation? My boyfriend is getting a bit fed up about how often I bring it up, but if we don't communicate about it, I don't think that leaves us anywhere good. Is Erik more close-minded about his schedule, or more open about brainstorming about how to spend more time together? I just want to make sure I'm doing my best to go about this the best and most mature way I can. Thank you x a million!

L.C. Bailey said...

I have two children (one is 18months one is 4 years) with a chef and the stress of work plus kids has put 15 years on my husband. He calls it the widow maker I call it insanity. I desire to change the industry standards but the cooks that work it wouldn't work it any other way.

Hilary Battes said...

I'm so glad I'm not alone here, ladies. But I never am with you gals.

I agree LC, the industry won't change; it's a powerful machine.

We are constantly talking about his schedule/hours. It comes up all the time- probably because I can't seem to accept it. Whenever my son has a school show or I'm feeling very sick and could use him home with me- I complain about his days/hours/handcuffs of his job. And yes, he doesn't appreciate it. Erik just repeats that he can't. So Dana, you're not alone either.

Anonymous said...

my boyfriend who i now live with has just been promoted as sou chef and will be working even more hours he told me about this website and that i should go on it i sometimes.feel so loney especially if i have a day off or at nights hes so stressed at moment and i get not much affection off him.sometimes after work hes began to get a low sex.drive and i wondered if this was comon thing in chefs id love to have some feed back many thank kc from uk

Hilary Battes said...

Hi KC from the UK,

You've asked a very interesting question that I've never actually come across before. I'd like to write a post and get more information from other ladies to see what's out there.

Nick D said...

This is funny for me to read. I worked with Erik for a short time at Perry St in the first opening months. Was just googling to see what's going on with Perry St, Greg Brainin, Justin and those guys... ran across this. Keep up the good work.