I was a bit overwhelmed after reading Kathryn’s story last week about her chef working full time AND going to school. But I know many of you can relate.
Chef Fiancée Antonisha Polite can relate and is writing her story for us today. (And can I just say that I’m so sorry Antonisha that you have to wash 2 sets of chef clothes!! Yuck!!!!)
Tell me a little about yourself and your chef (how you met, how long you’ve been together, do you have kids, etc.)
My name is Antonisha Polite, I am 28 years old and I am engaged to and living with chef. I work full time as an Internet Sales Specialist for a car dealership while getting my degree in Elementary Education. My chef is currently a head line cook for a major hotel. He is also finishing his culinary degree and is in the process of starting a catering business. I have a 4 year old son from a previous relationship that thinks chef is his super hero.
We met while I was working in the banquets and catering department at the hotel where he currently works. We were both coming out of relationships and could relate to a lot of things. We became friends at work and I left the job soon after. We stayed in touch through social media and after we both finalized everything with previous relationships, we started hanging out together and here we are now planning a wedding.
What position does your chef/cook have in the kitchen? Briefly describe the size and type of restaurant he is working at (fine dining/casual, size, privately owned or part of a restaurant group, etc.).
My chef works at a large hotel as the head line cook in their restaurant. It is a casual dining environment that caters to mostly business travelers because it is near the highway and airport.
Do you work outside the home and if so, what do you do and what are your hours like? If you stay home full-time, describe your responsibilities.
I work full time from 9-6 or 11-8 at a car dealership in their internet sales department. I am responsible for engaging customers online and bringing them into the dealership. I also go to school full time pursuing my Elementary Education degree. I am an e-degree student so the majority of my classes are online but I do have a few that I have to go to campus for. Our 4 year son just graduated from pre-k and will be in Kindergarten in the fall.
From what your chef has told you or you have observed, what does he do in his current position and what is he responsible for?
He is responsible for any food prepared for banquets at the hotel, which is where the majority of the kitchen work comes from. He is also finishing his culinary degree and will be graduating in January 2016. In addition to this, we are in the process of starting a catering business
What does a typical week and day look like for your chef (hours, days off, etc.)? How does your chef’s schedule fit with yours? What is easy/difficult about that?
Monday through Friday is pretty much the same for us and the weekends are a little different. On a normal weekday, we get up around 6am. My chef and my son both get ready for school. Because we are a one car family, I drop my chef off at school and drop my son off at his bus stop. Chef goes to school from 7am-12 noon. I come back home and get myself ready and go to work at 9 am. I take my lunch break at 12, go pick chef up from school, and take him to work. I get back to work and work until 6 pm. My son’s after school program picks him up from school and keeps him until I get there around 6:30. We go home, eat dinner, and get settled for the evening. Around 11pm, we get back up and leave to go pick chef up from work. He is normally done around 11:30 because their kitchen closes at 10. I have a very accommodating job that allows me to adjust my lunch, and even work schedule, to accommodate his school and work.
Does your chef bring work home with him (phone calls, email, texts, menu planning, etc.)?
My chef typically doesn’t bring too much work home. The stresses of work definitely comes home with him and homework from school, which is a given.
What kind of chef laundry do you have to deal with at this level?
I have double the chef laundry because his school chef outfit is different from his work chef outfit. I have 2 sets of chef jackets, aprons, towels, etc.
What do you feel is the biggest change when your chef moved into this position, vs. his last position?
I met my chef in this current position and because I have been in the culinary field as well, there weren’t any difficult changes or unexpected surprises that came with it. Because I have lived the life, I encouraged him to go to school even though I knew the crazy hours he already worked. I know how passionate he is about his work and I knew how fulfilling it would be for him to finish school.
What is the hardest part about this position in the kitchen for you as a chef wife or girlfriend?
The hardest part about his position are the nights, weekends, and holidays. The latest I work is between 6-8 pm. I work one Saturday a month and no Sundays. My family is big on entertaining, parties, and cook outs and I hate it that he can’t always be there. We are also planning our wedding so vendor meetings, bridal shows, and all those other things that come with planning a wedding have to be scheduled around his work and school schedule. Also, as our son is getting older he will be joining Boy Scouts and maybe sports and I know there are going to be events that he may miss because of work.
What (if any) are the perks of this kitchen position (for him or for your family)?
The obvious perk of him working in a kitchen is the delicious meals he prepares when he is home. We both love to entertain, so what better way to do what you love while spending time with friends and family.
This life is very difficult and has its ups and downs but I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
(This is Jennifer again . . .)
Double the laundry? Sorry. Still hung up on that one.
I know some of you have mentioned you also have only one car. How have you made that work? I’d love to know in the comments below.
From one chef’s wife to another,