20 Quotes From Successful Chefs: What They’ve Learned From a Career in the Kitchen

Life as a professional cook isn’t easy, in fact — it’s damn hard. I take comfort in knowing the chefs that have trailblazed the way for the current generations have had to deal with the same challenges and struggles that we all do as professional cooks. Hopefully, next time the boss chews you out, the line gets crushed beyond belief on a Tuesday night, or your significant other grows frustrated with your career and the crazy hours — maybe you can turn to these quotes from some of these best. They’ve helped me on the rough days, while pushing me harder on the good days. I hope the same goes for you.

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When you acknowledge, as you must, that there is no such thing as perfect food, only the idea of it, then the real purpose of striving toward perfection becomes clear: to make people happy, that is what cooking is all about.

Thomas Keller


We're hoping to succeed; we're okay with failure. We just don't want to land in between.

David Chang


We go through our careers and things happen to us. Those experiences made me what I am.

Thomas Keller


If you want to become a great chef, you have to work with great chefs. And that's exactly what I did.

Gordon Ramsay


I always say that I don't believe I'm a chef. I try to be a storyteller.

Jose Andrés


There are many times in my life, when I could've thrown in the towel. Many times in my life when I was on the floor. And when you're on the floor, never allow anybody to pick you up. It doesn't matter how long you stay there, make sure you pick yourself up and dust yourself down. Whatever happens, whether you go home today or you don't go home today, that's irrelevant. What's relevant, is you take the knowledge from the experience and you grow as a person.

Marco Pierre White


Although the skills aren't hard to learn, finding the happiness and finding the satisfaction and finding fulfillment in continuously serving somebody else something good to eat, is what makes a really good restaurant.

Mario Batali


My philosophy from day one is that I can sleep better at night if I can improve an individual’s knowledge about food and wine, and do it on a daily basis.

Emeril Lagasse


I tell a student that the most important class you can take is technique. A great chef is first a great technician. 'If you are a jeweler, or a surgeon or a cook, you have to know the trade in your hand. You have to learn the process. You learn it through endless repetition until it belongs to you.

Jacques Pepín


Being involved, learning firsthand and observing the craft and absorbing all you can, makes it easier to define what you want. It will also ultimately make you a better Chef. Culinary school, or even a single class, is a great bet too.

Giada De Laurentiis


A great restaurant doesn't distinguish itself by how few mistakes it makes but by how well they handle those mistakes.

Danny Meyer


To me, there's no great chef without a great team.

Daniel Boulud


I think every chef, not just in America, but across the world, has a double-edged sword - two jackets, one that's driven, a self-confessed perfectionist, thoroughbred, hate incompetence and switch off the stove, take off the jacket and become a family man.

Gordon Ramsay


You don't go to school to become the best chef in the world right after you graduate. School is always a starting point so what people forget is that you go to school to build a foundation, and you want to build a foundation that's not going to crumble.

Roy Yamaguchi


I've been a cook all my life, but I am still learning to be a good chef. I'm always learning new techniques and improving beyond my own knowledge because there is always something new to learn and new horizons to discover.

Jose Andrés


I think to be a great chef you have to be a great teacher. I love doing classes with people who love food and enjoy food, bringing them all around one table so to speak.

Michael Symon


When you have made as many mistakes as I have then you can be as good as me.

Wolfgang Puck


To eat well, I always disagree with critics who say that all restaurants should be fine dining. You can get a Michelin star if you serve the best hamburger in the world.

David Chang


When I was 26, 27 years old I was running a kitchen in New York, and I was a raving lunatic. The older you get, you figure out you don't need to do that. You realize at a certain point, there's a certain gravity to what you say and what you do. If that's not enough, all the yelling in the world is not going to matter.

Tom Colicchio


Techniques are not the most difficult to teach. The attitudes chefs take are much more important.
Alain Ducasse

Once you decide on your occupation... you must immerse yourself in your work. You have to fall in love with your work. Never complain about your job. You must dedicate your life to mastering your skill. That's the secret of success... and is the key to being regarded honorably.

Jiro Ono


There are obviously plenty more — I’d love for you to leave me a response with your favorite. I recently made a video with some of the most respected chefs in the world discussing what they’ve learned through their careers in the kitchen.

To watch, just click HERE.

Keep Cooking,

— CHRIS HILL

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