When I heard that Chef Dion–a fine dining chef based in Charleston, SC–found a restaurant that allowed him to give his life balance in an industry that’s notorious for lacking it, I thought his setup was unique. Little did I know that these situations have become common since the pandemic–of all industries hit, it seems like restaurant work has undergone the biggest transformation, and largely for the better.
The big question is, will the improved conditions last, or will “returning to normal” mean going back to the previously unquestioned grind?
Chef Dion discusses all this and, as you may be able to tell, he has some inner conflict between his improved work-life balance and a bit of nostalgia for the grind that, in his mind, helped shape him into who he is today. The inner boss dies hard!
The dynamics of the French Brigade system under which many “high level” restaurant kitchens operate, its reliance of trust, and why it makes changing jobs virtual wage and status suicide
Why kitchens have historically been punishing, borderline violent environments, and how the new generation of workers have forced restaurants to soften their “screaming chef” culture
How restaurants downscaling during COVID unwittingly gave their workers a taste of a more balanced life (including the HUGE difference it makes when your restaurant is only open five days per week)
Some factors that play into making restaurants more pleasant environments, such as owners who are NOT chefs and“running the menu instead of letting it run you”
Chef Dion’s love-hate relationship with his own growth in the industry, and whether he thinks being “beat down” early in your career is worth it in the long run
Production note: ambience sounds are apparently becoming a thing on Friends with Big Quit Energy…in this episode, you’ll be hearing some lovely Charleston, SC nature, yardwork, cat, and construction sounds. Enjoy!