Letter to a Young Chef Wife

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Dear Young Chef Wife,

This month my chef/husband and I will be celebrating our 19th wedding anniversary.  It’s hard to believe it’s been that long.  I’m not quite sure where the time went.

As I look back on our marriage, there are so many things I would have done differently as a chef’s wife, if I only knew what I do now.

letter to a young chef wifeI know you love your husband and would do anything for him.  I also know that his career as a chef is tough on your marriage.  I’m writing to you today to encourage you to not give up.  It’s not easy. I’ve been there.  Wait . . . I’m still there!  I’ve learned so much in 19 years and still have so much more to learn in the next 19+ years to come.

I would love to sit down and talk with you, share with you, laugh with you and cry with you about what life is like being married to a chef. But since I have 3 young children, we would probably be interrupted (politely, of course) about 800 times during our chat.  So for the moment, I’ve come up with 11 things that I really wish I would have known early on in my marriage to a chef.  I would love to share them with you.  You might have already figured them out or they might be something you never thought about.  There’s even a chance you might not agree with all of them.  Whatever the case, I hope and pray that they will be helpful to you in your marriage.

1.  He’s going to work a lot of hours and those hours are going to change at a moment’s notice. You’ll have to change plans often, reschedule dinners, celebrations and maybe even vacations.  Don’t take it personally.  He’s not doing it to get away from you and avoid you.  He’s working to support you and pay your bills!  Support him even when it’s tough and don’t nag him about his hours.  Nagging will not work!  It will only cause problems in your marriage.  Trust me!

2.  Do not worry about him, especially when it’s late at night and you expected him to be home.  Worrying will not change anything.  Even if he falls asleep on the way home while driving, worrying would not have stopped it.  Trust that God will protect him and that He will be with you if you something does happen.  (I have lost many sleepless hours worrying and it hasn’t helped or made our lives better in any way.)

3.  Be his #1 cheerleader from the beginning.  Never talk badly about him to others.  There are enough people in the world that will talk about him behind his back.  Don’t be one of them.  If you have something to say about him, say it to him directly.  Encourage him and support him in every way that you can.

4.  Chef coats are a pain to clean.  Get over it.  🙂 Read up on the best stain removal techniques, buy what you need to clean them, wash them with a good attitude and move on!

5.  Create a peaceful home that he wants to come home to.  The kitchen is a fast paced environment with a lot of stress.  Do everything you can to create a home where your chef desires to be and where he can relax and not think about work (if that’s possible.)  This is a MILLION times harder when you have kids.  Many days I fail at this miserably.  But there’s always the next day to try again (and again, and again, and again . . .)  Don’t give up.

6.  Get used to going to social functions by yourself and be OK with it.  He will be working during most of the events and parties you are invited too.  Don’t turn down an invitation just because you don’t want to go by yourself or you will be sitting at home all by yourself most evenings and holidays.

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7.  After you have kids, his days off are not your days off.  Thinking this way is a big mistake!!  Things will turn into chaos with the kids and the days will be horrible.  Enjoy the help, but don’t sleep in and slack off every time he’s off.  Your family will suffer.  If you need a break, talk about it with your chef/husband and make it happen.  Just don’t assume he will take over everything around the house and with the kids just because he is off.  He is not there for a large part of the time and has no idea what goes on in the home and what the daily routine is.    Don’t expect him to know those things.  Talk about the day when it begins and make sure he feels like part of the family.

8.  Don’t wait for him to be off to do things you want to do.  Start traditions, enjoy life and have fun.  If you wait for him to do everything you want to do, you’ll miss out on a lot.  If he’s off, he’ll be a part of what you are doing.  But if not, don’t sit home and mope.

9.  No matter how tired you are, chances are he is more tired.  I’ve been tired from work.  I’ve been tired from being up all night with a baby.  I’ve been tired from taking care of 3 sick kids for days.  But I’ve never been as tired as I have seen my husband in the month of December or when opening a new restaurant.  He’s going to sleep and rest a lot on his days off.  Be understanding and don’t be upset with him.  Don’t resent him when he’s taking a nap on the couch and you are doing the dishes and taking care of the kids.  He’s tired.  If he spent time with you instead of sleeping, it probably wouldn’t be quality time anyways!  Let him rest and then enjoy time later in the day.

10.  You’re going to do 99.9% of the things around the house.  Even if you think it’s something your husband should do, you will probably end up doing it.  No matter what job you have, he will still work more hours than you.  Remember he is working hard to provide for you so show him how much you appreciate that by taking care of him and things around the house joyfully.  (Joyfully being the key word.)

11.  Pray for him daily.  This really should be the #1 thing you do for your husband.  Pray for his safety (during the commute and while at work.) Pray for wisdom as he makes decisions.  Pray for stamina to physically get through the day.  Pray for him every time you think about him.

Young chef wife, I wish you and your chef/husband all the best.  The road ahead of you is not easy, but you can do it!  If you ever want to sit down in person and chat or talk over the phone, you know how to contact me.

Hugs from one chef wife to another,

Jennifer

Please Comment

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71 Comments

  1. Rups

    Thank you for this article. I’ve been married to a chef for 8 years and we have atoddler. I work full time and have been doing a lot of that nagging you mentioned simply because it’s hard to work full time and then run after a toddler till he sleeps (sometimes not till 11pm). But your article reminds me why nagging is not a good thing – he’s doing the best he can to combine his work with his family and we just have to muddle along the best we can without blaming each other. Thanks for reminding me of this.

    Reply
  2. Jennifer

    Thanks Rups. It’s so hard not to nag when we get frustrated, isn’t it? 🙁 Wish I would have learned this one early on in our marriage.

    Reply
    • Tamy

      Maybe it had to be this way so you could help others later

      Reply
      • Jennifer

        Maybe. It’s always nice to talk to someone who can relate to what you are going through because they went through it themselves. 🙂

        Reply
  3. Rups

    Hi…sorry for commenting again but I just wanted to say a bit more about how your blog has affected me. My chef is a hotel head chef and so he usually has weekends off and sometimes gets home at a ‘normal time’ in the evenings as well. For the past four weeks though, one of his sous chefs has been on holiday so he has been working late every evening and one day a weekend as well. So for the past few weeks I have been under more pressure than usual at home and have had a big black cloud over me. I have really been down and have taken it out a little on my son but mostly on my poor chef. After reading your blog, the black cloud has lifted. I have printed out an edited version of your ‘Lessons’ and put it on my fridge so that I can read it when I’m feeling down. Thank you for giving my perspective back.

    Reply
    • Jennifer

      Oh thank you for letting me know. I hope it helps. 🙂

      Reply
  4. Allison

    This made me cry. I live in Israel, my boyfriend is a starting cook but loves it and has every desire and ambition to open a place one day. We’re 25 and in a very serious relationship. We live together (“together”- he’s never home). I’ve supported him so much for a year and a half and now, this December it’s been absolutely horrible and I’m drained emotionally. We live separate lives, the one activity we absolutely love to do together are day trips, hiking, travelling. All of those have gone out the window lately and I feel there is nothing left to bring us together. I wait up for him everyday to get an hour with him at night but am exhausted when I have to wake up for work, cannot clean the house upon coming home from work from my own exhaustion. The result is the feeling of a dirty house and a horribly bad mood on my part. Everything is falling apart, this is all new to me and I so so so so don’t want him to abandon his dream for our relationship but I know he would. I’m actually scared he will after seeing how sad I was last night. Not sure how to save the relationship. What activities can we do that is not too exhausting for him, is not on a precise date, and can be done after 5 pm (his morning shift ends and I can afford to get off work). Movies are not really an option, I only like good movies, not dumb comedies and he’s too tired to read the subtitles on those movies or complicated screen plots.

    Reply
    • Jennifer

      December is horrible, isn’t it? 🙁 I’m so sorry! I hope things slow down a bit for him now that the holidays are over!! Never make big decisions about your relationship or his career during or right after the busiest month of the year. (At least it is here in the US. I’m only guessing is it busy there as well.)

      As far as some ideas of things to do that are not quite as active, what about playing a game, reading a book together, going out for coffee or Geo-caching. I’ll ask some other chef wives and significant others and see if I can get a better list. That’s a great question and I’m sure you’re not the only one who would like ideas. (I would love some as well.)
      Jennifer recently posted…We Made it ‘Til January 2nd!My Profile

      Reply
  5. julianaloh @bilbaobab

    Thanks for sharing this and a reminder to be the bigger person. I’m newly married to a Michelin starred chef, but we’ve dated over the years long distance, short distance before I took the plunge and moved. I work equally long hours and sometimes longer, and I think it’s so easy to turn resentful and angry, we don’t even have kids in the mix. I’m all for equally and contributing to the household, I stopped staying up late to wait up for him because I begin my work mornings early and I simply cannot survive on 4 hours a sleep (note we don’t have kids yet), be productive and be a happy loving wife. It’s a dilemma I have yet to find a solution to, when he leaves for work, I’m already on conference calls, so we never really have a time and place for conversation – just on his one day off… which actually is a challenge to be solved.

    Is it possible to be a working wife of chef? Someone’s got to give and I gave up my career when I moved, only to start something else that is taking off. How do you prioritise? what about your own feelings and your contributions to?

    I realise that the kinder and more patient I am, the more considerate he is. And when I’m a total grouch, all hell breaks loose.

    I know acceptance is key, and we all know managing a chef’s ego is a delicate issue. I still find it hard to accept the age old stereotype that the wife has always to be the one making sure all is in perfect order for the chef to come home to, because in all honesty – it’s pretty hard too working, running the household, and those with kids, it’s like triple shift work!
    julianaloh @bilbaobab recently posted…Eat Marrakech: Moroccan @ Le Royal MansourMy Profile

    Reply
    • Jennifer

      Thanks for your comment Juliana. I’m sure you are not the only one feeling this way. (I should probably write something about this in a post soon.) 🙂

      In my opinion, if both of you are working and both want to move ahead in your career, you have to be in agreement that both careers are equally important. Otherwise, one of you will always feel like you are giving something up. I think there needs to be sacrifice from both the chef and spouse or significant other (easier said than done, I know).

      I think talking about that and sharing your goals and desires for both of your careers is important. (And somehow finding a time to have that conversation when the chef is not exhausted is important too!!) And if you both are putting 110% into your careers, make sure to include how you are going to work on your relationship with your limited time together and who is going to take care of things around the house when you are talking. That might not be the easiest conversation to have, but like you said above, the kinder and more patient we are, the better things go. (And I would guess it would be an ongoing conversation.)

      Just because we are married to a chef doesn’t mean we can’t have a career and excel in it. It might be more of a challenge in that we won’t have as much support at home as someone who works the same hours as their spouse or significant other, but it can be done.

      Adding kids to two busy careers (one being that of a chef) is a totally different story though. 🙂

      I hope that helps! I’m so glad to hear your career is going so well after moving. I know it’s so hard to relocate!!
      Jennifer recently posted…Finding Time for Yourself when you’re Raising a Family with a ChefMy Profile

      Reply
    • sam

      I very much relate to you. I am in the military, I chose orders specifically to stay close to my boyfriends job. I support the house, not the other way around. Its my money and time that pay the bills and primarily my efforts that keep us chugging along emotionally. If I am feeling down, he goes down as well…no balance there and frankly I don’t think I can do that forever. Meh

      Reply
      • Jennifer

        It’s funny how a relationship with a chef is so similar to that of someone in the military. I find I can relate a lot to blogs written by military wives.

        It’s hard when you feel like you have to keep everything together to keep things running smoothly. That’s a lot of stress. Have you guys talked about that at all?
        Jennifer recently posted…How to Have a Successful Career and be Married to a Chef – Part 4My Profile

        Reply
  6. Joy

    Hi all,
    Thanks for this inspiring website. I just started a relationship with an italian executive chef. He works more than 12 hours a day and we hardly have any chance to communicate. Even if I text him, he will be too busy to reapond. We are in our early stage of our relationship and I do believe he is serious about us. However, being a woman, I am sensitive and I feel sceptical about it… I thought he was breaking up with me and avoiding me initially. However, he told me he was just busy… it is tough to rely on trust and belief to make a relationship works. How can I sustain this relationship? How can I be understanding and not paranoid?

    Thank you

    Regards,
    Joy

    Reply
    • Jennifer

      Hi Joy. I think you really said it in your last sentence . . . you have to choose to be understanding and not paranoid. Chefs have crazy hours and it’s easy to read into those busy hours and think something is wrong. Sure, sometimes something is wrong. But a lot of times it is just work that is all consuming! I’m sure that’s easier for me to say and do after being married for 19 years though instead of just starting off in a relationship. 🙁

      Not sure if that helps or not. Hang in there. I know it’s not easy!! I hope you have some time together soon to talk!
      Jennifer recently posted…What a Chef and His Wife Think You Need in the KitchenMy Profile

      Reply
      • Joy

        Thank you Jennifer for your response and encouragement. I will try to just put him at the back of my mind and not think of him for a while. Hopefully it gets me back to my normal self without feeling awful. I just hope he is just busy and not playing me out. I am trying to be understanding. But it is hard when he doesn’t respond… I try to put myself in his shoes, working 12 to 14 hours a day. I would be exhausted too. I would not have any ounce of energy left too at the end of the day… I hope I am not deluding myself…

        Reply
        • Jennifer

          I hope not too. 🙂

          Reply
  7. Ashley Beolens

    I guess you never really contemplate the way someone’s job will affect a relationship, well I hadn’t anyway, my shifts are set (well for ever they don’t change unless I do overtime) my partners are also set, they change but that is it, I’ve never really experienced someone whose job hours can vary so much. So it’s interesting to read this as an outsider.
    Ashley Beolens recently posted…Parenthood is…My Profile

    Reply
    • Jennifer

      This makes me smile. Thanks for reading Ashley! All jobs are different. It’s hard to know what each one is like unless you’ve lived it, isn’t it? I can’t imagine what it would be like for my husband to have set hours in a job since he never has. 🙂

      Reply
  8. Crystal Green

    This is a very well-written post. I am confident it would speak volumes to many wives who have husbands working long tiresome hours. My hat goes off to you for dealing with that and raising three kids pretty much on your own.
    I’ve been in similar shoes, but I didn’t handle it well at all!!
    Crystal Green recently posted…The Fantasy Marriage SyndromeMy Profile

    Reply
  9. Jen

    I know the restaurant industry is more of a life than a job, so your advice is great, but it’s also applicable to most situations where one partner works a job with long hours. There’s something to learn here for all couples!
    Jen recently posted…What Do Michael Buble and People of Walmart Have In Common?My Profile

    Reply
  10. krista-lee-pfeiffer

    Hi, I’m from our new Facebook group. This is great advice for ALL wives! I’ve been married for almost 18 years & think all of these are important. Glad I stopped by, sometimes you need a reminder. Thanks for sharing! -krista
    krista-lee-pfeiffer recently posted…Goat Cheese + Chive Mashed PotatoesMy Profile

    Reply
  11. Heather

    Although I am not married to a chef, many of these tips apply to a married couple in general. I am a stay at home wife (no children). At first it wasn’t by choice (economy) and now it is. My husband is up early every day (5:30AM-ish) for his job. He works hard at it and really supports our little family of us and two dogs. I pray for him so much because I see how tired he gets. I try to make our home peaceful and I let him chill when he gets home – which usually means a decent dinner (I’m not the best cook but I try) and watching a TV show or something else. He loves to play with the dogs when he walks in the door, so I let him do that as long as he needs. And, his way to unwind is to play his guitar at night. Basically, I try and support whatever he needs to unwind. Truly enjoyable post. (Stopped by from the FB group)
    Heather recently posted…Fluffernutter FudgeMy Profile

    Reply
    • Jennifer

      Thanks Heather. It’s hard when we want to spend time with them, but they just need a break and to unwind for a bit. But while it’s not easy, it does show our love for them and that we care. 🙂
      Jennifer recently posted…The Stress of a ChefMy Profile

      Reply
  12. AK

    Thank you for this article! I love what my partner does and i try to support him as much as i can. After staying at home our relationship got so much better. I wasn’t tired from work and did everything around the house, cleaning his work clothes to have dinner ready when he comes home, i love the idea that i am supporting him in a way that he doesn’t need to worry if he has clean clothes for tomorrow etc. And the best feeling is that even that i don’t earn actual $, i’m still important to the household and we do appreciate each other. Even if it isn’t always easy to be alone.

    Reply
    • Jennifer

      You are DEFINITELY important to the household even though you don’t earn any money.!! My husband once told me that he wouldn’t be where he is today in his career without all I do to help at home. That meant so much to me to hear that from him. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by. 🙂
      Jennifer recently posted…How to Get the Smell Out of Chef Clothes (and Other Laundry)My Profile

      Reply
  13. Lauren

    This post has really helped me today. I have been dating a chef for two years now and I am getting used to the hours (atleast I accept it) but for some reason the last month has been particularly hard. My boyfriend has been doing catering as a side job to make extra money. He is a sue chef so he works 12 hours a day 5 days a week as it is and he has a 2 hour commute to work. So that basically leaves his days off for us to spend together but for the last month he has catered on one of his days off and that means that his other day off is left for sleeping. It has just been a rough month. Always tryin to find a way that I can fit into his chef life. Thanks for this post, it really helped. And I don’t even want to think about what it would be like with children.

    Reply
    • Jennifer

      My husband has a long commute too! I wish he didn’t and we could have those extra hours with him! Glad you found me and that the post was encouraging to you. It’s hard always trying to figure out how to fit time with them into their crazy schedule! 🙂

      Reply
  14. Genna

    I just stumbled upon your blog and just wanted to thank you for your words. I recently got engaged and my fiancé is a chef, we’ve gone through many of the struggles that you’ve written about in your blog. I’m so glad that there are other women out there who share the same feelings, it’s nice to know I’m not the only one!

    Reply
    • Jennifer

      You are definitely not the only one! Glad you found us! 🙂

      Reply
  15. Deandra

    Wow! This “hit the spot”
    My husband and I just celebrated 2 years together!
    I consider myself very lucky as my husband is a corporate chef and ‘typically’ works corporate hours……… With that being said he often need to travel on a moments notice. As I write this I am sitting here with my morning coffee and texting my husband as he sets up for an expo states away. I never really understood why, when traveling, I was not allowed to go. Now, I know! He is quite busy and would not have time to dedicate to his wife 🙂

    We have had to reschedule trips last minute, attend family functions alone, show up at separate times, spent three times as much on tickets because we needed to book last minute, and have even missed out on precious final moments with loved ones.

    Through it all I would not change a thing! I love my chef and could not imagine living life any differently!

    Thank you for your letter and your fun/real blog 🙂
    God bless our chefs and the wives behind them

    Reply
    • Jennifer

      Thank you Deandra! Many of our little vacations are last minute as well because of his schedule, which makes it hard. I totally understand!! So glad you found the blog!!

      Reply
  16. Angie

    Thank you so much for this article! I stumbled upon this while searching how to clean chef coats on Pinterest. As I type, my chef is fast asleep on the couch (we were trying to catch up on missed TV shows)! We have spent Decembers together as a couple before, but never while living together. I never fully understood why I always felt the need to take care of all the laundry, dishes, vacuuming, etc but after reading your list it all makes sense!! My friends all complain that he should help out more around the house, but it is a stress reliever for me to know he gets to come home to a relaxing home. I’m finishing up school, so between homework, our jobs, and my internship it is certainly difficult not to nag or get caught up in my own exhaustion. Your own experiences has definitely given me the drive to remember to support him as best I can, as I know he always does for me!! Thank you so much for you dedication to helping us girlfriends/new wives, as well as connecting with those who have been married for years. This site will surely become one of my favorites!! (:

    Reply
    • Jennifer

      Yay for Pinterest and dirty chef coats. Glad you found me!! 🙂

      Reply
  17. JoeyM

    This article has been so helpful! Thank you very much for such and amazing blog, I am married to a chef, we just got married in September and since we had a long distance relationship for a couple of years we are finally living together and what a month to start!! December is horrible indeed, he starts his day at 6 am and come back home at midnight! Ive been trying to be as understanding as I can but its really hard 🙁 so thanks again for this article it has brought me a little peace of mind 🙂

    Reply
    • Jennifer

      Oh December is such a hard month in this industry! Congratulations on your marriage and hang in there this month! I hope you are able to enjoy a little time together this Christmas season, even if it’s after the holiday!!

      Reply
  18. Amanda

    This is everything I needed to hear right now. I’m marrying my chef in 226 days. I’m just starting to learn the business and get used to everything. I will be following your blog, I’m sure.

    Reply
    • Jennifer

      226 days . . . but who is counting, right? Congratulations!!

      Reply
  19. Elena

    Hey. I am in a relationship with a chef for 5 years. Non of our friends works as a chef, so I felt misunderstood many times. It’s amazing that you thought of sharing your story and so many details about “this type of life.” I found your blog accidentally and it seems incredible to realize that I am not alone and that other women who love a chef are living the same exact feelings and moments. Thank you for sharing your experience! 🙂 Good luck in everything you do and may God bless you wonderful family!!!

    Reply
    • Jennifer

      Thank you Elena. Best of luck to you as well. 🙂

      Reply
  20. Ruby

    Thank you so much for this post and this site. My chef is currently in culinary school(although he has worked in many kitchens, even as the executive chef). So he is going to school days and I work second shift 3-11pm. The only time we really get to talk is on the weekends and I sometimes totally feel like we are living separate lives. We reconnect quickly and it sustains me until our next conversation. It was a lot easier when he was actually working in a restaurant because we had the same hours. Housework, getting enough sleep for myself(I get home at 11:30pm and he has to be at school by 7:30am), grocery shopping, washing chef coats-btw I totally felt a sense of vindication when you were cutting up those old chef coats–why can’t they make them that you can bleach them! One little colored area! I feel overwhelmed with it all, and we don’t have kids yet! It’s nice to know I’m not the only one that is going through it. Thank you again. Prayers for you and your family!

    Reply
    • Jennifer

      Feeling like living separate lives is so hard! 🙁 And I’m laughing at your response to me cutting up chef coats. I love it so much!!!! Glad you found my site. Feel free to join us over in our closed Facebook group if you’d like to chat more. 🙂 https://www.facebook.com/groups/1586875798193404/

      Reply
      • Ruby

        Thanks for replying. I requested to join the facebook group. It really is nice to know that I’m not the only one going through this! Thank you for the support you have given through this site! Have a Blessed Easter!

        Reply
  21. Emma

    We have only been married for 4 days now, but we have been together for 3 and a half. I figured these same things out fairly recently, and since I did, he left the job he was at for a much better one where he is really pushing himself out of his comfort zone. He said that all of my support and taking care of him has allowed him to focus his energy more on work and really be able to push himself. If any of you have seen the movie Gatica, the two brothers would swim as far out into the ocean as theyou could, trying to go further than the other brother, not wanting to give up first. One of the brothers always wins, he always swims out farther. The boy said its because he gives the swim out into the ocean everything he has, he doesn’t hold back and save anything for the swim back. Chef told me that I’m the reason he has been able to be so successful this past year, it’s because he doesn’t have to save any energy to clean or cook or worry about doing his laundry. He said every single day he “swims” out as far as he can. I’m always so proud of him, and I tell him often. It’s just so nice that he makes sure that I know I’m a part of his success. I love doting on him, and he feels like a king for one day a week. I’m grateful for how hard he works. He deserves to come home and be appreciated.

    Chef kept finding excuses to delay us having a wedding, and I finally asked him 6 months ago if he had changed his mind. He said he was just afraid he wasnt able to give me enough, that eventually I’d get tired of the long hours and want to leave him for someone who is home more. I’m glad he finally surprised me the other day andaycare drove us to get the marriage license. He had taken care of everything. He told me he was sorry he made me wait so long, but that he could see I put my faith and trust in him and I had already committed myself to him by the way I make it my job to take care of him, and he said I deserved the same commitment. I deserve to know that he isn’t going to just walk away after I spent years taking care of him and doing whatever it takes to keep him on track and happy and healthy. He got teary eyed and said who else is going to leave out a cup with 15 capsules of vitamins and minerals for me and then send me a text message right before you know I’m about to walk out the door to tell me I better have taken my vitamins. He started to cry and said no one else knows the special 15 vitamin combination…. how could I not want to marry you?

    I may not get a lot of time with my chef, but I wouldnt trade an hour with him for an eternity with anyone else. It’s those moments that make the chef wife life worth it!

    Reply
    • Jennifer

      We are part of their success. I’m so glad he sees that. My husband once told me he would not be where he is in his career without my support and all that I do at home. My heart melted! 🙂 We are a team and I love that!

      Reply
  22. Charity

    Not married. Dating a chef for over a year has been a challenge, but his love for his work is what I love most about him. I googled “chef married to chef” and found this encouraging article instead. I’m a musician and waitress, and every chef I know is married to another chef. It makes me wonder about the possibility of him falling for someone in the kitchen. After all, that IS where he spends most of his time.
    Anyway, this article reminded me to replace my worry with prayer, and to continue doing my part. Thank you.
    Blessings to you!

    Reply
  23. Isabella

    Thank you for writing this up. My partner and I are chefs for at least 5 years now. It’s only been a few months since we had started living together. It is hard. Hard to be a chef, and also hard to be with a partner who is also working hard hours. Our working hours are not the same, sometimes I’m doing the 5 am shift and him doing a 2pm shift. He comes home late and sees me sleeping. In a few hours I will be waking up for my morning shift, trying to get ready for work not making a sound because my partner is very tired and needs some rest too. When our rosters don’t match we miss each other a hell lot. I love my boyfriend so much. For our 3 year relationship, almost half of it we were away from each other chasing our dreams. Doing training in couple different countries so we could widen our knowledge and opportunities. Long distance sucks, but we both support each other’s dreams.

    The best part of our relationship, as both of us being young chefs, is we are a great team. Really great team. We both have different “specialties” or niche with cooking food. But the combination of both our knowledge and passion is just awesome and it manifests through the food we make. I’m really proud of us as a team.

    I am 26 years old. Being a female chef, is hard. Male chefs takes a lot of shit? We take more. We have to be tested if we are as tough as the males. The pressure for time and quality, the stress. Working in the kitchen can be very stressful. Like after every shift you feel so stressed that you just want to drink to get some sleep. Wake up and do the same shit over and over again. The risks we take everyday in the kitchen, for a low salary, just to show and share our passion and make other people happy. Sometimes we wouldn’t care if we work for free as long as we make people happy with our food. Yet some people they look at us as if we don’t deserve any title. It hurts us every time someone would look down at us because we “work in the kitchen” and are not paid “enough”. Not like doctors, lawyers, engineers, etc. Yeah we work in the kitchen, we did not take any bar exams or whatever exam that would give us the “chef” title. But we take pride into the knowledge, experience and art that we have invested on through the years we’ve worked in our career. We deserve some recognition too. A “thank you” would be nice, “chef the food is awesome” will make us the happiest chef of the night.

    Ladies of my age, chef or not, if you have a chef partner, support him and be proud.
    There is nothing else in the world that you should be proud of but passion and love. Both are good things and they make the world go round. If he works long hours, he will be tired. Imagine standing up and walking for 12 hrs. I kid you not. There is no sitting in the kitchen. Only kitchens in a house will you see a stool. Sometimes when my partner gets home and I’m in the mood, I give him a full body massage until he gets to sleep. Because he deserves it. When in the kitchen, yeah we touch a lot of food, BUT we rarely EAT them. Yes we try them, dip the tip of our finger in the soup, or pinch a part of the steak, but never eating. Even if we get our staff meal, sometimes cooking so much food, doesnt make us so hungry that we will finish a whole plate. It’s like we’re tired of seeing food, smelling them and even eating them. Knowing that we’re only on a break. So when we get home we’re hungry like we haven’t had a meal all day. It will be awesome if we eat our breakfast-lunch-dinner meal with our partner and some chit chat about how our day went. Please please make your boyfriend/husband some food. I promise you he will not judge how the food is plated, as long as it tastes okay, it made him full, you’re AWESOME.
    If your chef husband/boyfriend is not there on your birthday, or anniversary, or Christmas (especially), chances are he already asked for a day off but they have many reservations or no one can cover his shift. Please understand. On the bright side, hey everyday can be Christmas 🙂 Or birthday or anniversary, you can celebrate it when you want or for as long as you want. If he said he will make it up to you, he will. Most probably he will cook for you. And that will be something very VERY special.
    Be patient with your chef. And everything else will pay off eventually. 🙂

    Reply
    • Jennifer

      Isabella, thank you so much for taking the time to comment. What great insight you have since you are both chefs. 🙂 I can’t even imagine how crazy that must be at times!!

      Reply
  24. Stephanie C.

    Being in a relationship is difficult enough, try being his sous chef as well

    Reply
  25. Carolyn Keller

    Thank you for this. I have been with my husband for 10 years, married for 1, and today he starts his 4th job in the culinary world. Changing jobs is always such a scary thing. Each time he moves up in the field and each time that means more time and responsibility. For us we waited 9 years to get married and have just lived together for 1. The time apart is really hard especially when you wait all of that time to truly be together. I’m thankful for groups like yours and to be able to share this with someone who understands.

    Reply
    • Jennifer

      Job changes are hard, but many times it’s the only way to move up. 🙁 I do understand!!!! Hope this new job is a good fit for him and for your family Carolyn!

      Reply
  26. Donna Strucic

    I am currently engaged to my fiance who has been a chef for almost 6 years. Him and I have been together for 9 years and I did have to learn alot of this along the way. Reading this article filled me with such a sense of relief, alot of times I felt so alone in how I felt about some of these situations. I get questioned all the time by those who have significant others with a 9-5 office job who can’t imagine this lifestyle, but honestly I don’t feel right living any other way. I know there isnt much time you can spend with your chef due to busy schedule but I use that time to work on myself and be sort of independent. When we do have a day off together it’s that much more special to be with one another, and catch up on all that we missed. I look forward to our future ahead, and to reading more of your articles to learn how to face challenges that may lie ahead. I want to thank you Jennifer for creating this website, your articles are so heartfelt and reassuring.

    Reply
  27. Storm

    This made me cry A LOT! because I realised I am making all the above mistakes.. I cant help it!

    We started dating when he first decided to go to chef school, we ended things a year later but OOPS… I was pregnant! We decided to stay apart as the relationship was VERY toxic!! He is 4 years younger than me. That’s not why it was toxic it was toxic for many other reasons. He moved 20 hours away without telling me and we never spoke. Then I happened to get a job in the same place as him 2 years later. Weird right?

    Well to cut a long story short we have decided to try again. There is SO much love between us, but so much fighting. We do not live together yet and cant for the next year, we live 45minutes away from each other so we see him once a week.. I’m battling 🙁

    When he wakes up and goes to work I am still sleeping, when he gets a break I am at home with my daughter( never an ok time to chat, bath time dinner etc..) when he gets home I am sleeping. I hate it!

    I love him and do not want anyone else but please help me!! I am not sure how to make this work when I feel more alone now than ever. I have moved far away from all my family and friends for this job and have no support or babysitters 😉

    We rarely spend time alone together and we both know “date nights” are so important but we just do not have the time. We are fighting more every day so when we do see each other its not that happy feeling anymore 🙁

    Just need some advice please

    Reply
    • Jennifer

      That 45 minutes distance, no childcare help and the crazy hours of someone who works in a kitchen make it hard. Glad you found our group online. Let’s chat more there. 🙂

      Reply
  28. Andrea

    I have been dating a chef fir almost a year. We each have 3 children separately making a total of 6 kids. Mine live with me, we’ll us now, since we live together. I have found that this life is very hard. The data are long, and so are the nights sometimes. He’s always so tired. I try my best not to nag him and to be understanding. I pray for him daily, multiple times a day. I try not to worry, but sometimes I can’t help it. And with the nights being so late, sometimes I wonder if there isn’t someone else. Though he hasn’t given me any reason to doubt him. I found your article and it made be burst into tears because that is how things are. I love him, nor than I ever thought possible, and I want this life with him. It’s just so hard sometimes. Thank you for your encouraging words, they are helping me to see that I am not the only one who feels like this. I will be more supportive of him and more encouraging. Thank you.

    Reply
    • Jennifer

      Hi Andrea. Glad the post was helpful. I know late nights are so hard and it’s hard not to worry! Hang in there!!

      Reply
  29. Allie

    I read this and cried. I’m living with and engaged to the head chef of an insanely busy restaurant in NYC (Manhattan). To top it off I work 70+ hours a week as the nighttime and weekend events coordinator at one of the largest schools in the city. Neither of us are ever home and its very frustrating. We’ve easily gone a week without seeing the other awake and having our only conversations be notes we leave or text messages. I’ve gone to countless weddings, holidays, and events alone and friends and family joke that I’m the only single person in a relationship that they know.
    We’ve been together for 5 years and he’s seen my family maybe twice a year and they live 30 minutes away from us. Although I love him, I’m starting to second guess our relationship simply because I don’t know if we will ever have time together. I wish lunch dates or weeknight dates would work but I never have a set lunch time and I work almost every weeknight at my job. His day off is always during the week and I can’t just randomly take off as I work in a school.
    It’s nice to know there are other people in the same situation as me. Any advice would be appreciated! Thank you 🙂

    Reply
    • Jennifer

      Both of your schedules are so busy. If you really love him, don’t give up and keep fighting for time together! 🙂

      Reply
  30. Alex

    Thank you so much for this post Jennifer!
    I have only stumbled across your blog today and there are so many truths in your lessons that this made me cry!
    My chef is a head chef, we have been together 8 years, recently engaged, and living together 2 years. We are now planning to start a family. He works 12+ hours everyday, some weeks he only gets one day off, sometimes he still needs to ‘nip into the kitchen for a few hours’. I get the nagging! I know I should not do this, it’s so hard. It has been harder since we moved in together as it’s more noticeable he isn’t around. I do let him rest on his days off, make sure he has a good meal prepared for when he comes home, I don’t ask him to do anything around the house. I recently got at him for how long he is at work all the time. Even when he is off or at home, on holiday! He gets messages, emails, calls. But I have realise don’t it is unfair for me to get at him and nag him. He is good at what he does and he is passionate about it. I just want to support him in his choices and like you mentioned in your post, give him a home he wants to come to after work. I find it particularly hard when friends and relatives ask about him when I am on my own at parties etc. People who just don’t understand what dating/marrying a chef is like. I have been told maybe he stays at work on purpose, maybe he’s not at work all that time (implying he’s with someone else!) People saying it isn’t a healthy relationship. We make the best of it and I am sooo grateful for what time we do get together. Even if it is just doing nothing. I work full time too and have the flexibility that I schedule my own shifts. But as you mentioned his shifts change so shortness notice I quickly realised it is impossible to try and get shifts to match his. Im aware I will be keeping the house mostly on my own, and that I will raise our family mostly by myself. And he is worth it! I just get lonely and then paranoid when people insinuate he is up to something else. I don’t think for one minute that he is. But it is difficult when other people do. I will take onboard the information in your lessons, thank you for the post. It’s so nice to not be alone!
    On a separate note, with things we do for fun when we do get time together and he needs to rest. We love what we call ‘lazy days’ we will spend the day in our pjs watching films and playing games on a console together, having a nap midday! Just easy quality time together, then we get a take away! Or I cook us a nice meal. I used to swear by having a ‘date night’ once a week together where we had time together, it worked really well for us. But as you can imagine it’s not always possible to get that time together anymore! Thanks again for the post Jennifer! Alex xx

    Reply
  31. Dallas

    I feel that I’ve been searching for this site all my life. I have been with my chef for 8 years. Since I was 17. We have been through every transition together in life. Most recently he landed a sous chef position in the Vegas strip. It’s day two …. and I already went hunting for coping with the hours. I’m so happy for him and supported me when I became a teacher 5 months ago. I will keep up with this site and may or may not be crying over this article at 6am getting ready for work. While he got home at 1am. We miss each other by 40 min each day. We vowed to to something together (have dinner) each day he has off. The hardest part of these two first days … he works over 10 hours and doesn’t get a break not even to text I love you. That is hard not getting to check in through our gis day. As a line cook he got at 15 min and could sneak a text on a slow time. I think he will learn to do that as he gets used to his schedule. For now I text at a wall. We also don’t live together yet so I would like to establish a tradition of leaving video messages to each other after our respective shifts. And to remember that he is probably as lonely as I am with out me.
    Love to all other chef loving ladies,
    Dallas.
    Ps. I think this is the community I need 🙂

    Reply
    • Jennifer

      Hi Dallas. Glad you found me. Sounds like you have a good outlook on life while dating a chef, even though it’s not easy. I just sent you an invite via email to join our close FB group if you are interested. 🙂

      Reply
  32. Emily

    So glad I stumbled upon this! I’ve only been dating a chef for a few months (we’ve been “official” just over a month) but I can already see the challenges ahead. He was very upfront with me when we first were getting to know each other that his schedule is very tough…and I thought I understood…but now I’m beginning to realize just how tough it is. Prior to this, I was in a long term relationship with someone who worked 9-5, with several of those hours being worked from home…so I’m used to spending alot of time with my SO. This is a challenge, no doubt.

    I recently changed careers to something that gives me more flexibility in my schedule (not because of him, of course, it was just a coincidence). So I think that makes it easier. For now, I usually just ask him to let me know what days off he has during the week and I try not to make too many work plans for those days. Since our relationship is so new, I don’t want to assume all his free time will be spent with me either – he has friends he might want to see and family that would love to see him when he’s available.

    As we are together longer, I imagine I’ll eventually ask him to share his work schedule with me more in advance. He usually knows a month at a time…and that could make planning things easier I think.

    I’m excited to spend the holiday season with him but I also know he’ll be working on Thanksgiving and alot throughout the month of December.

    I’m glad to know your page is here, though, as I’m sure I’ll be back 🙂

    Reply
    • Jennifer

      Glad you found me. Feel free to join us over in our closed Facebook group to chat more.

      Reply

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