Hello and welcome...
To my first ever blog post so please excuse any literary faux pas I am about to commit.
My name is Suzie, I have spent 25 years working in professional kitchens, 20 of them as head chef and all of them a challenge in their own right.
I've worked for small independant restaurants, large hotel chains, had a restaurant business down south, worked the local agency circuits, TV cast and crew catering and my most recent role at a unique independant restaurant in Birmingham called Annexe.
It has a Vintage 1920's Paris vibe and its where I have spent the last five years; creating, growing the business and gaining a pretty decent reputation against the leading restaurants around town.
From a table of four on our first ever Saturday night opening to fully booked every weekend within the first year, our diners clearly loved what we had created and the team that worked there did too. It will always hold a special place in my heart.
It was in my final year at Annexe, to my delight that I fell pregnant and EVERYTHING I had known was about to change.
I gave up my role as head chef to take on a new role as mom to my baby boy.
Though I had temporarily hung up my chefs hat, I always pondered my next creative move.
Whilst there are aspects I don't miss from the trade... the unsociable hours, working late nights and every weekend, becoming that ship that passes in the night with the other half, the clinging lingering kitchen smell, exhaustion after service but unable to sleep, missing friends celebrations, splits shifts, deep cleans. I could go on but the things that frustrate me are the very things that contribute towards forming these special bonds with fellow colleagues, who I actually spent more time with than my own family.
So I've missed the connections that were created with the most unlikely characters, the pressure and speed, the buzz and satisfaction of a service gone well, diners appreciating what you've created and being part of a very tough but rewarding industry.
My predicament is to emcompass all the fulfilling elements of the job, without so many of the downsides AND still be around to see my boy grow. That elusive work life balance that we all dream of... Is it even possible in the chef world? I'm about to find out...