Quite recently, I had the pleasure of interviewing the Professional Canadian Chef, Bobby Rahman, about what his average day at work is like. And boy, is it a lot different from what I expected! It’s not all about barked orders and cooking challenges folks (I blame the Cooking Channel for that misconception)!
If you want to know more about the average day in the life of a Canadian Chef (one that specializes in Traditional Canadian cuisine), stick around for the complete transcript of my conversation with Bobby Rahman:
Thank you for accepting my request for an interview! I want to keep this casual, if possible. So, let’s start with something easy: How are you doing these days?
Bobby Rahman: You’re welcome! And I’m doing well, thank you. On a personal level, I’m the same as always — even better now that we’re coming out of all this COVID business, of course. Professionally, things are also going pretty great. Our restaurant has recently been awarded the much-coveted 3 Michelin Stars — a feat that we’re still kind of reveling in even to this day (honestly, we couldn’t be prouder.)
And how have you been doing at work? Still going strong?
Bobby Rahman: I’ve always enjoyed cooking, so it’s no surprise to me (or anyone that knows me well enough) that I’ve managed to stick this career choice through. People are still so shocked whenever I tell them I used to be a lawyer — and a pretty good one too if I do say so myself — before I inevitably had to give it up in order to pursue cooking, which has always been what I wanted to do from a young age!
Can you tell us what you like most about working as a professional chef?
Bobby Rahman: As a lover of food and—perhaps more importantly—as someone who has always enjoyed cooking for others, I am lacking nothing when it comes to my passions for my job. But, I guess, if you’re looking for something more specific… Hmm… These days I’ve really been enjoying the challenge of trying out new recipes. It’s probably one of the hardest things about being a chef (the whole creative process, I mean), but it’s also one of the most rewarding.
How about dislikes? What struggles have you had recently while on the job?
Bobby Rahman: Actually, I think the thing I dislike the most about working as a chef is the busy days. Depending on where you work as a chef, you can be working pretty much the entire day (or at least it feels like it sometimes), and that can be pretty draining. Just to put it into perspective, for chefs that serve breakfast, brunch, or lunch (the early hours, I suppose I should say), that usually means getting into work before the sun is even up in order to get everything prepped and ready for a smooth cooking experience.
That can get pretty tough after a while — for any chef. This is why I believe that it is so important that you have to like the work to keep doing it.
Can you tell us a little bit more about what a day as a chef is like for you? How do you normally start your workdays?
Bobby Rahman: I start my ‘workday’ prepping, as mentioned earlier. It’s not just me, of course. Everyone in the kitchen has their own parts to play. We all work together from the get-go to make sure that our stock is in order (which usually means receiving freshly delivered ingredients and noting down what should be ordered for the next day). Then, ingredients are prepared in advance — which effectively involves a lot of cutting up and measuring to make sure that everything is ready before the customers start coming in with their orders.
I guess, as a whole. The start of the day is usually a rush of a bunch of activities. A practiced sort of ritual that we rinse and repeat every day in order to keep things straight.
What do you do to unwind after a day of work?
Bobby Rahman: After a particularly grueling day, I like to just relax. Maybe eat some of my wife’s home-cooked meals (she’s pretty fantastic at cooking herself) before winding down. Cooking, believe it or not, is quite taxing on the muscles. So, it does me good to just let them rest for the night so that I can start off the next workday re-energized.