Day in a life of a Chef Wife

chef wife day

Constantly inspired by Jenn at Emulsified family and most recently a post by Shanndelier as the chef wives sorority share all these insider jokes on being married to a chef. There was a recent article that surfaced that is hopefully purely a joke and we shouldn’t really be doing it any more favours by directing traffic to it… but, have a read on the wrong perception vs real life. I really enjoyed Shannon’s post and actually share a similar work day (marketing, social media, content) and have a cat fur baby.

I used to stay up to wait for chef to get back from work… because I was obsessed with the idea of that’s what good wives do – and that was what everyone around me was doing. Then I realised the toil it was taking on me, because… no one else works! (Some by privilege of choice, and others by work visa circumstances). So, they can wake up at whatever time, have domestic help that helps run the household and pretty much can function on their chef’s schedule and cook him dinners/suppers at 2am.

Yes, we are a fortunate lot here in Asia with affordable help with domestic chores. The other thing no one tells you about trailing spouses of chefs in new countries is –  you give up the life as you know it every couple of years and are left without a job by circumstance as dependent visas don’t allow you to work – you are not only alone at least 14 hours a day, and all you have are little expat enclaves to get your social community going. Often times you inherit your chef’s friends’ spouses – women you may never be friends with in your lifetime as you realise you have nothing in common, save for your spouse’s vocation and similar trailing spouse circumstances. It’s awkward, unpleasant yet somewhat comforting at the same time.

Well, I am immensely grateful for my work, and I shouldn’t really complain about the bane of the working chef’s wife’s life. I have stopped trying the impossible task of sleeping late, being on his schedule and getting  up at 730am to have a full work day ahead. In other words, I get about 4-5 hours a sleep maximum if I did the same.

We don’t (yet) have children and work has always been a non-negotiable for me and I have been working since I was 18 and will continue to do so as long as I am able. I am one of those who “can’t sit still” and will definitely be working in some form or the other. Financial freedom and independence has always been important for me, maybe that might change down the road with circumstance and geographical relocation, but for now, I am grateful and thankful daily that I get to do what I love, running JLOH Communications.

So I start my day at 730am-8am includes the snooze button. I like using the sleep cycle app – it’s suppose to wake you up at the optimum time avoiding the periods of deep sleep, when one is rudely disturb makes you tired all day.

8-810am meditate, yoga stretch, set intentions for the day

815-830am slice fruits make juice for chef and I, get the coffee machine going – mostly our Nespresso, sometimes with our Moka coffee pot and make toast for breakfast

9am chef gets ready to head to work, drinks juice, take coffee and sometimes a slice of toast or croissant I picked up from the bakery the evening before.

930am chef leaves for work, I am at my desk on emails, conference calls and talking marketing, content creation and pitches, China and Asia Pacific social media strategy, briefing regional PR agencies

1230pm Break for lunch. I usually make a simple gluten free pesto pasta, a light salad, sometimes an omelette or brown rice with a simple vegetable/meat stir fry. Watch the news on TV

130pm Back at my desk. Repeat work day tasks

630pm head out to the supermarket, run errands, grab a light bite on the way home or make a simple dinner. If I don’t run errands and grocery shop, I head out for a run.

9pm Watch TV/news (other times I am on late night conference calls, thankfully chef works late, so it doesn’t eat into any personal time. And aids in work/life balance)

11pm In bed reading, catching up on social feeds, chatting with friends online and if I’m lucky chef gets home around this time, but often times, I fall asleep before he gets back. If he comes back before, we chit chat briefly in front of the tele before we go to bed.

When do we have time to catch up? On his off day Sunday when he wakes up in the afternoon and another week day where we head out for lunch during my work day. Well, quality time vs quantity. And our annual two weeks Summer holidays back in France with the family and the Michelin restaurants road trip.

I’m looking forward to teaching next semester a once a week, three hour class on Food & Culture at the Macao University as adjunct lecturer, so it’s been lots of research and reading the last few months.

December is usually a damp month of chef wives because it’s the busiest time of year and we have to respond ad verbatim to the same questions of “What are you doing for Christmas and New Year’s?” “Are you coming home?” “Do you have travel plans over the holidays?” “Anything exciting for the holidays?”. The answer is always No, it is the busiest time of the year for folks working in the restaurant industry and yes, chef wives spend it alone, year after year and celebrate after midnight when their spouse get back. It’s routine and it’s a choice we made and celebrate – but to be inundated with the same questions year after year, it is pretty annoying.

So, that’s a piece of our kitchen in the photo – complete with truffle shaver, and a professional sous vide machine that we really don’t use often enough! I did some work for Le Creuset sometime back and got half the kitchen set of pots and a skillet. Anyone has sous vide recipes to share? I am also looking for a good pizza dough recipe – which I know is tricky to share given the different climate, humidity and water everyone uses that would yield different results!

Everyone from all walks of life and vocations have their own gripes and we all struggle one way or the other. So, I don’t believe there are any better or worse scenarios, but just how you cope with it. Here’s a great article that I read recently on questioning what you want out of life.

Are you on Instagram? Follow along for real time updates of latest Macau discoveries this month! I am finally done with work travels and getting back to wandering Macau. :)

2 Comments

  1. Shannon
    Dec 04, 2015 @ 14:31:08

    Love this! I’m so impressed with your morning – I try and try to have a better morning routine but I still end up crawling out of bed at the last minute. Also, I’m getting my chef a sous vide for Christmas so I’m hoping I’ll have some good recipes to share soon!

    Reply

  2. bilbaobab
    Dec 04, 2015 @ 15:59:34

    I struggle as I am not a morning person but as with routine they become habits! And even on Sundays I can’t sleep in anymore because I automatically get up! Looking forward to your sous vide experiments and recipes, I saw a few on kickstarter a few years ago as I wanted to get that for my in-laws. SO MANY choices! :)

    Reply

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