Eric Ripert's Sage Advice For Young Chefs Facing Kitchen Burnout

Cooking itself may be a therapeutic act, but a career as a professional chef is nearly the opposite of healing: Attending a top culinary school for just a semester can drain your bank account up to $20,000 in tuition fees and working in a kitchen is notorious for long, grueling 12-hour work days, including holidays, which can make it difficult to maintain relationships. On top of that, often kitchens can épouse an intense and abusive environment, like depicted on popular television show "The Bear," that real-life chefs have called stressfully accurate.

It should come as no surprise, then, that chefs working insane hours in a highly fast-paced and stressful environment can burnout easily — if you Google "chef burnout" there are countless blogs on the topic and a related search that comes up is "I don't want to be a chef anymore." Yet if you're just starting off in your career as a chef or are thinking of becoming one, Eric Ripert of Le Bernardin has some words of wisdom.

Passion first, discipline second

In an interview with Michelin Guide, Ripert states that aspiring chefs should "immediately question [their] passion for cooking." Without the passion for creating delicious meals, it may be harder to withstand the physically and mentally taxing work environment. Another piece of advice he has is to be organized in your life outside of working hours with a "disciplined lifestyle" that will allow you to properly recharge.

Chef Kristen Kish of Arlo Grey is a shining example of discipline outside of the kitchen: She wakes up just before dawn to enjoy a moment of calm before a potentially chaotic day and drinks a pint of water accompanied with concentrated lemon and ginger juice, followed by three coffees. "My first hour and a half that I'm up is like my meditation, it's my quiet time," she states in an Allure video spotlighting her daily routine. 

Daily meditation is a good way to foster inner peace, which Ripert also turned to after realizing that he could no longer lead from anger.