Why are the chef’s working hours so long?

For most chefs, a 40-hour workweek is just a fantasy. most chefs work 70-80 hours per week. you’ll find some chefs even working 14-hour shifts day after day. Professional chefs are famous for their insane work ethic. suppose you ask any chef whether it’s a good idea to pursue a career as a professional chef. they will tell you it’s hard work. if you want to know whether being a chef is a good career choice, then you can read this post.

Not only that chefs aren’t compensated well for their efforts. if you want to know the 3 main reasons why chefs are paid so little we’ve written a post on that before.

but why are the chef’s working hours so long? and why do chefs choose to work so long?

some chefs would say that that’s been the norm in the industry. but some factors make professional chefs work long hours. In this post, we are going to elaborate on them further.

If we were to list why professional chefs work long shifts it would be a lengthy list. Here are the major reasons why chefs work long shifts. first, Chefs get paid to get the job well done with a fixed deadline, and second to get ahead in their career.

In this blog post, we are going to cover major factors leading to chef’s long working hours. We’ll also discuss the impact of long working hours on our personal life. then give you some practical tips on how to cope with long shifts.

Let’s start with the major factors that lead to a chef’s long working hours…

Number of Customers

Crowded Kitchen

As we’ve said before the first reason why chefs have long working hours is. they get paid to get the job done within a fixed deadline. you’ll hardly ever find a job posting for chefs like. we need a chef to work 9 to 5 with this much salary. you’ll find the responsibilities we have to fulfil as part of our job. chefs are given responsibility as per the type of restaurant and the functions required to run the restaurant. for example, if on a given day there are more diners lining up the restaurant chefs are required to serve till the stock is gone or all the diners are fed which could result in late-night work.

Overcrowded Kitchen

This might sound controversial to some of you but having more people working in the kitchen than necessary might be the reason why chefs need to work long hours. we already have a small space for the kitchen so that there can be more space available for the tables. having more people working than necessary creates more chaos in the kitchen resulting in poor productivity.

Quality Standard

Quality Standard of high end restaurants

The quality of craftsmanship required to complete the dishes can affect the chef’s working hours. dishes served at high-end restaurants and dishes served at local street foods required different levels of perfection. that’s because of the high expectations people have from high-end restaurants, which results in more time being required to maintain quality of standard which can result in the chef’s long work hours.


cooking is an art and our work is a creative endeavor. we do experiment with new dishes, new culinary styles, tools and spices. so that we can learn and grow to become a better chef. that’s the part of a professional chef’s life. The amount of time chefs spend on sharpening their Knives(oh! I mean Shaw) could result in them working more hours in the week.

Growth in career

chefs are required to be competent in their field. with the competition out there, chefs just need to work hard to stay relevant. if someone refuses to work hard one else might just grab an opportunity. chefs take up more responsibility to move the career ladder.

Chef Position

Most chefs at the executive level work like normal 9-5 people. their function is more of a manager than to do the actual cooking. So if you are in an entry-level position in the kitchen hierarchy expect to work long hours.

Effects of chefs working long hours and on their personal life

Long Shifts can take a toll on chefs’ personal lives. The long working hours can result in burnout, stress and other mental and physical health issues. They might find it hard to balance their work and personal lives, Which can result in strained relationships and a lack of time for self-care. let’s be honest, who has the energy to focus on other areas of life when they are working 80 to 100 hours a week? the stress of work can lead them to make some unhealthy choices. if you want you can check out these posts about why chefs die so young? and the top reasons why chefs are fat. As you have read about effects long working hours can have on your life. let’s get to some practical tips, habits and actions you can take to cope with the long working hours.

Tips for professional chefs to cope with long working hours

If you are already a professional chef, you know something about how to handle work-related stress. we hope that your ways of dealing with stress won’t hurt you in the long term. many times people take shortcuts to feel good in the present which ends up hurting them in the long term. we have classified the strategy to tackle long working hours in three parts.

  • Setting clear-cut boundaries: you can set clear-cut boundaries about your working hours, such as not working on certain days or during specific hours to recharge yourself. learn to embrace the power of taking rest.
  • Delegating responsibilities: don’t try to do everything on your own. you can delegate tasks to other members of your kitchen squad, such as managing inventory or doing prep work, to free up time for other important tasks.
  • Prioritizing self-care: This is the #1 thing you should start with. you can prioritize self-care activities, such as exercise, meditation, spending time with loved ones, learning to take naps, to prevent burnout and maintaining your physical and mental health. start with one self-care habit it will make your life better.

one bonus tip: DO NOT STAY IN THE KITCHEN AFTER WORK IS OVER. go out and live your life. you’ll feel better. don’t make your life and your work synonymous.


chefs’ long working hours are a well-known aspect of the restaurant industry. chefs get paid to get the job done and career development are two major reasons for chefs’ long working hours. while long working hours are necessary for both chefs and the restaurant industry, they can take a toll on chefs’ personal lives. you can maintain a healthy work-life balance while meeting the demands of your job by setting clear-cut boundaries, delegating some tasks and prioritizing self-care. and one more thing feel free to share any hack you are using in your life to have a work-life balance. then feel free to share it in comments for fellow chefs.

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