November 30th, 2017
Do we need to develop an interest in clothes if we have a solitary job? I walked in four chef’s kitchens to see how they work and what kind of working clothes they choose to wear.
When he was seven years old, Mihnea spent his time on the street in front of his house, playing with other kids. But whenever his mom called him in for dinner, he ran straight into the kitchen, he climbed onto a chair and started stirring in the cooking pot. His parents didn’t encourage him to work as a cook though, so his first field of study was Mathematics.
His first brush with cooking came in 2002. He moved to London that year in search of a job and he found a restaurant with vacancies.
“The chef asked me if I had any experience in the kitchen. I lied and said yes because I was afraid that I wouldn’t get the job. So the chef hired me. I remember my first day at work so clearly, and I remember his voice whispering in my ears – “Mihnea, you’ve never worked in a kitchen before”. After getting over those stressful first days, that cook taught me everything I know. I say this in retrospect, but back then we had a love-hate relationship.”
Mihnea now knows that you need to work hard during every phase of the process of cooking and you need to know every corner of the kitchen by heart because anything can happen – someone can cut or burn themselves and you need to take their place right away, in any station of that kitchen.
Among the recipes, knives, clean cutters, pans, ovens, onions and salt, Mihnea’s hands must synchronize with his eyes, his brain, his nose, his feet. He says he walks twelve thousand steps a day when he cooks.
Do we need to develop an interest in clothes if we have a solitary job?
“For eight years, I’ve had a red tunic. I’ve kept it close to me everywhere I’ve worked and it’s still in good shape. I’ve also realized that I can’t work without an apron. When I put an apron on me, it feels like I’m wrapping myself in it. I grow confident like I can now be fearless and begin working. If I don’t have it on me, I feel exposed, incomplete. I don’t feel safe, comfortable, and my mind gets stuck thinking I am going to spill food on my clothes. Cotton t-shirts are also important to me. I buy 20 pieces at a time and I wear them under the tunic. I also have aprons and tunics back home, more than I have pants, jeans or street shirts. I think I have two whole dressers for the kitchen and a few shelves for street clothes.”
Mihnea prefers seeing a team that’s dressed uniformly and he always chooses the classic outfit – pants, tunic and special shoes. All of them are bought from different stores, online shops and from the restaurant’s distributors. He always looks for quality, even when it’s expensive.
Photo credit:Bogdan Ioniță