Chefs are weird - get over it!
Firstly, creating delicious food is an art. All artists are creative and all creative types are ‘close to the edge’ at times. It’s a given :-)
Secondly, being a chef is probably one of only a handful of jobs where every single thing you do is scrutinised. From a cheese sandwich to a fine dining plate - every mouthful is assessed and critiqued. That kind of pressure is definitely enough to give me a complex!
In all seriousness though, the catering industry is well known for long hours in hot, physically demanding and pressure-filled environments. Marry that with working on your feet, low wages and few, if any, benefits plus unsociable hours and the whole “my chef’s got the ump” thing becomes a little more understandable.
I used to have a young lad that worked in my kitchen. He was a fabulous chef – when he was on form. When he wasn’t he could be anything from grumpy to an utter business disaster. As a business owner I found the uncertainty of his moods really hard until I actually tried to put myself in his shoes. After working with him for a while I realised he felt isolated because of the hours – he couldn’t speak to friends and family about his troubles. He was fearful of taking time off – because holiday and sick pay were not great. He felt judged constantly – simply because of the nature of the work.
In the end, the way to help him was by nurturing. If you have a chef that’s temperamental, make the time to mentor, support, encourage and reward. They are pivotal people in your business. Becoming their sounding board and giving them the time and space to off-load before and after a shift will work wonders.