Tag Archives: advice

How to become a chef and become a writer

After reading Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential, I realized that becoming a chef is not at all what I imagined. It takes a ton of time and involves getting dirty. You have to start from the ground up. I saw some similarities to the process of becoming a writer, or really, any creative job. Anthony Bourdain gives 14 tips on how to become a chef.

Let’s find out how many of those tips are helpful to become a writer, or any other creative job.

1. Be fully committed.

Is this helpful to become a writer? Yes. It’ll be beneficial to make up your mind that writing is what you want to do. If you really don’t want to be a writer, then how will you find time/ energy to read and write all day long, or right after your day job? You probably won’t make the time, or find the energy. You need to really want it.

“Don’t be a fence-sitter or a waffler. If you’re going to be a chef someday, be sure about it, single-minded in your determination to achieve victory at all costs.” -Anthony Bourdain

2. Learn Spanish!

Is this helpful to become a writer? Probably not. Unless, you want to be a Spanish writer or appeal to a Spanish speaking audience.

3. Don’t Steal.

Is this helpful to become a writer? If you interpret this as don’t plagiarize, then yes. It’s not exactly what Anthony Bourdain meant, but if you want to become a writer plagiarizing is a major offense that you want to stay far away from. With all the reading a writer is doing, it’s almost as tempting to plagiarize as it is for a chef to steal from their restaurant.

“In fact, don’t do anything that you couldn’t take a polygraph test over…If you’re a sneak and a liar, however, it will follow you forever. This is a small business; everybody knows everybody else. You will do yourself immeasurable harm.” -Anthony Bourdain

4. Always be on time.

Is this helpful to become a writer? Yes. If you have a writing job, then of course yes. If you have scheduled writing hours set aside daily, do yourself a favor and never skip them. How else do you expect to get better? This tip translates to almost any career.

5. Never make excuses or blame others.

Is this helpful to become a writer? Yes, of course. Writers have deadlines. If you don’t reach the deadline, then it’s your fault. Admit it and do better next time.

6. Never call in sick.

Is this helpful to become a writer? Yes. Unless, you’re so sick that you can’t move. It is best to try and get your work done. Especially, if you are falling behind on a deadline.

“Except in cases of dismemberment, arterial bleeding, sucking chest wounds or the death of an immediate family member. Granny died? Bury her on your day off.” -Anthony Bourdain

7. Lazy, sloppy and slow are bad.

Is this helpful to become a writer? Hell yeah! Turn in great work. Turn it in ready to be shipped. I’ve edited other writing before, and it sucks when it’s obvious they didn’t even try to correct some of their grammar errors and misspellings. Don’t be a lazy writer. You’ll quickly get labeled as the lazy writer/ person.

“Enterprising, crafty and hyperactive are good.” -Anthony Bourdain

8. Be prepared to witness every variety of human folly and injustice.

Is this helpful to become a writer? Yes. If a writer is making more money than you, and you think you’re better, don’t worry about it. You got to focus on your own target and goals. Don’t get distracted by comparing yourself to others. It’s not healthy nor is it helpful.

“Without it screwing up your head or poisoning your attitude. You will simply have to endure the contradictions and inequalities of this life. ‘Why does that brain-damaged, lazy-assed busboy take home more money than me, the goddamn sous-chef?’ should not be a question that drives you to tears of rage and frustration. It will just be like that sometimes. Accept it.” -Anthony Bourdain

9. Assume the worst. 

Is this helpful to become a writer? I don’t know. This one might be more chef specific since they have to interact with the same people everyday whether they like them or not. Usually, writers have a bit more flexibility throughout the day. This tip is meant for chefs who might not like one of their coworkers. Bourdain is advising to find their company entertaining, and amusing, regardless of how you feel about the person.

10. Try not to lie.

Is this helpful to become a writer? Yes. This is good practice for any line of work. You don’t want people questioning what you say.

“Remember, this is the restaurant business. No matter how bad it is, everybody probably has heard worse. Forgot to place the produce order? Don’t lie about it. You made a mistake. Admit it and move on. Just don’t do it again. Ever.” -Anthony Bourdain

11. Avoid restaurants where the owner’s name is over the door.

Is this helpful to become a writer? No. Unless, you’re writing for a restaurant?

“Avoid restaurants that smell bad. Avoid restaurants with names that will look funny or pathetic on your resume.” -Anthony Bourdain

12. Think about that resume!

Is this helpful to become a writer? Yes. You should always keep your resume in mind, no matter what line of work you’re in. Your resume will get you your next job.

“How will it look to a chef weeding through a stack of faxes if you’ve never worked in one place longer than six months?” -Anthony Bourdain

13. Read!

Is this helpful to become a writer? Hell yes! You have to read. 24/ 7. Bourdain recommends cookbooks and trade magazines to keep up with the industry trends. While, you don’t have to keep up with trends, you should always be reading the writing of great writers. It will help your writing. Have you ever heard of a musician who doesn’t listen to music?

14. Have a sense of humor about things.

Is this helpful to become a writer? Yes. In writing and life, a sense of humor is required 🙂 .

“You’ll need it.” -Anthony Bourdain

Upgrade your gut feeling

Can you upgrade your gut feeling? Is that even possible?

I think so.

Find the people that you would like to operate more closely to and hangout with them. If you can’t hangout with them, read their books, essays, watch their videos or listen to their podcasts. Do this as much as possible everyday. Even more than you are comfortable with.

Remember what Seth Godin wrote, “Doing the best I can is actually not the same as, ‘doing everything I can.’ When we tell people we’re doing the best we can, we’re actually saying, ‘I’m doing the best I’m comfortable doing.’ As you’ve probably discovered, great work makes us uncomfortable.’ 

You might only be dedicating ten minutes per day to reading, but is that all you can do? You can probably do a lot more. Upgrading your gut feeling is not easy, and it certainly won’t happen anytime soon with a weak effort.

As time passes you’ll begin to notice yourself thinking and acting differently. You’ll say and do things that you’ll recognize from the people that you’re trying to be more similar to. That’s a good thing. That was your goal from the beginning.

Immerse yourself in the world of those that you admire. Poor decision making comes from being immersed in the average. Most people immerse themselves in TV, sitcoms, TV commercials, radio commercials, radio music, Netflix, their complaining coworkers, and their complaining friends. That’s why they think the way they think. You can’t really blame them. Their gut feeling has taken the shape of their influences. If they’re hungry, they reach for the Doritos.

If you decide to upgrade your gut feeling, in terms of health, you’ll know it’s working when you reach for the raw almonds, over the Doritos, when you feel like having a small snack.

You can upgrade your gut feeling in regards to almost anything. There are people already living the way you want to live. All you got to do is find them, listen to them, and begin doing what they advise.

What to do when you’re having a bad day

What do you do when you realize you’re having a bad day? You can call it an off day too. Sometimes you can feel it coming on. Maybe, you’ve been extending yourself too much during the past days or weeks.

Or, sometimes you just wake up and know you’re in the midst of an off day. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a full on bad day. You can either be in a slightly agitated mood, or feeling very introverted. Whatever the case is, it happens to all of us. Even the best of the best humans have bad days. It’ll be a little different for everyone, but not a whole lot different.

Here’s what I do when I feel a bad day coming on, or when I’m actually having the said bad/ off day.

1) Stop doing what you need to do, or thought you had to do for the day. Put the to do list aside.

Go to the basics, and do things that make you feel good. Eat your favorite food. Spend hours reading. Go for a walk. Crack open a beer or bottle of wine. Play your favorite sport. Play with your child. Call your sibling or best friend. Watch your favorite show or movie.

Whatever it is for you, allow yourself to do it.

2) Invite someone you trust for lunch, dinner, or a drink. Talk and let it out to someone you trust and know very well.

Someone you can complain to, and won’t feel judged doing it. Don’t invite new friends, acquaintances, or new dates.

Text those who you truly trust. A best friend, parent, significant other, sibling or cousin.

3) Spend the entire day doing number ones. If you still feel off the next day, go ahead and repeat.

Usually a day or two of this will be exactly what you needed 🙂 . Having a bad day is normal, so don’t get over stressed about it.

Why do health physicians give generic advice?

Why do health physicians seem to give generic advice? I suppose it’s their job to give simple answers, since most people won’t care about hearing complicated answers.

Recently, I went to see my primary care physician about getting a testosterone test. I had just read the 4 Hour Body by Tim Ferriss, so I was super interested in seeing where my testosterone levels were at. I didn’t end of getting the test done, because he didn’t agree with me needing to take it. He said a lot of things that were contrary to what Tim had written in the 4 Hour Body.

My primary care physician stated that if I don’t feel lethargic or depressed (I don’t), then my levels are healthy. He also asked, if they were low, would I be open to taking treatment to raise them higher? I said no, because I wanted to use the natural methods Tim advised in his book. I told him what those natural methods were. Eating a healthy protein/ fatty diet, sleeping well, Brazilian nuts and eating avocados daily.

Surprisingly, the health physician said none of that will do anything. He said, he is sure none of that actually works. I was pretty shocked, and now I’m thinking that he really meant for the average male it wouldn’t do anything. Right???

Even though, I don’t know where my testosterone levels stand, I’ve been taking Tim’s advice and doing a lot of practices that he advises to keep your testosterone levels good – high. I’ll probably look to get tested sometime in the future, but, of course, with a different physician 🙂 .

I can’t help but think that his response is on the same track of what physicians usually say to those that have overweight issues. Instead of telling them to eat real healthy food, they prescribe pills and recommend diet sodas.