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The chef rules a small kingdom.


Ireland, ca. 2002 —


The kitchen is a small kingdom, and the pretender to this crown a sad character.

There's nearly always one — either the head chef, the manager, or somebody who wants to be one or the other.

One of the main conceits of the kitchen tyrant is that he or she is just doing their job, and that being a big pantload is the necessary method. And at core, it's possible this person doesn't really care if you do the job correctly but just wants to be the one to tell you what to do.

The kitchen is a stressful job. There are those who can handle it, and those who cannot. The worst are those who think they can, but cannot, and pass along the stress of their twisted soul. Tortured by long hot dirty hours for little money — they need somebody to blame, for anything.

These characters will often impose unnecessary stress upon co-workers, ostensibly because "it's a tough industry." It is that, indeed — mostly because of these people.

I've known chefs — not many — who truly enjoy the buzz of a kitchen. A great many head chefs appear to be pretty miserable. They may act proud of their knowledge and skill, but seem terribly insecure and are prone to counterproductive displays.

My least favorite of these counterproductive displays is the nasty big-dog habit of trying to dominate coworkers. That, I can't tolerate. It's why I hate the industry.