What Is The Hardest Job You’ve Ever Done Regarding Food?

Thought this might be interesting. Just wondering what your toughest food jobs have been; it could be feeding your family, grocery shopping, anything in the resto industry, catering, supply chain or whatever?

Mine are in order of difficulty:

Expediting for 3 bush companies in remote parts of Alaska, for about 30 or so people in each camp. For one of the sites I had to actually pull the food orders and would have 7-10 carts of food that I would then have to drive several hours to deliver. The 2 others I would pick up from the various vendors and deliver via helicopter or air freight. It was pretty damn annoying when my perishable orders would get bumped for other freight.

Catering, mostly non paid for friends and family, I had a few paid jobs. It was pretty tiring and stressful too.

As mentioned in another thread, it has been eating and cooking for about 9 months (no, too old to be expecting). Never expected eating to be like work. As of Sunday past I am better. It was an issue with one of my meds.

Almost completely forgot, worked right out of high school, sorting fruit at a stand and working in a factory that processed cherries, peaches and tomatoes. I couldn’t eat cherry pie for a long, long time.

Cooking for the family when exhausted and cranky.

How about everyone else? What has challenged you the most?

3 Likes

Well…once I was in the country with young son; husband was in town. A local called and asked if I knew anything about breaking down an animal. Sure. I know rabbits. How different can this rather BIG goat be. So after dinner son and I go down the hill and we address this Billy. It was very like a rabbit, but a very large rabbit. Lots of wine and 6 hours later, we had the goat parted out for the village 'que. It might have gone a little faster with less wine, but maybe not.

4 Likes

All could think of. Was standing in line at Trader Joe’s.

6 Likes

It’s funny. I have a back issue that sends me into sciatica if I stand in one place too long. I have finally realized that stress also comes into play. Like standing in line at my custom butcher or fish counter waiting for service can turn me into a hobbler. Maybe get a little zen and walk home in comfort?

1 Like

I’m sure this is not what you had in mind but…

Traveling 3000 miles to see family for Thanksgiving, then eating “seafood” at a chain restaurant.
Cooking salmon “well done” for the hubs.
Peeling fava beans
One more!
Peeling chick peas.

Yes, these are fortunate people problems.

5 Likes

Oh but I get it! Truly.

My first job: “kitchen help” in a local pizzaria. The owners were cretins, the jobs were friggin’ nasty. First, and last time I ever worked in the food “industry”.

1 Like

Have you considered trading him in?

Cleaning a freezer full of blue crabs after two weeks without power after Hurricane Alicia hit Galveston/Houston in 1983.

6 Likes

Cooking for hungry men on a 60’ sailboat in nasty weather.

4 Likes

This is part of my job.

I have not! He comes with other redeeming qualities.

2 Likes

You really know how to get yourself in trouble at times @Auspicious! :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye::stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

2 Likes

LOL. Shopping at a Trader Joe’s in Manhattan is basically a contact sport with an incredible amount of waiting around at either end of the game.

My most difficult food job was definitely when I made a friend’s three-tier wedding cake (after having taken a basic course in sugar art/cake design), in a tiny apartment with a very small oven and no room in the freezer to store layers. I had to clean out my entire fridge to make room for the finished product!

2 Likes

Physically hardest: dishwashing in a restaurant. Compared to prep work, sandwich line, grill, it is so exhausting. I’m sure I wouldn’t be physically up to that job these days.

Emotionally hardest: Cooking dinner when my daughter has had picky phases. Start thinking about dinner in the afternoon, pick up groceries, chop, assemble, cook… watch her sigh and slump over at the sight of what I’ve made for dinner. It is amazing how disheartening that is.

4 Likes

We do occasionally redeem ourselves, don’t we? grin

1 Like

Restaurant Week - suddenly everyone gets dessert, yet I still have only two hands. Happy to never have to do that again. It sucks for everyone but especially pastry chefs, usually only 1/3 to 1/2 of diners order dessert.

Christmas - holiday party catering, huge wholesale orders, special orders, retail events. Q4 is exhausting but there is some satisfaction in meeting the challenge. And cashing the checks!

Working for a hotel in the Himalayas. The altitude wasn’t so bad, the challenge was sourcing ingredients and coming up with enough different items for breakfast, snacks, and dessert menu at five lodges. A real challenge to creative problem solving.

7 Likes

5 Likes

Wow this! Would like to hear more if you have time sharing your Himalayas adventure.

2 Likes

I was in Bhutan 10 years ago. We’d get the occasional import from Bangkok but sourced most food locally. A lot of stuff is trucked up from India so if the road is washed out you’re SOL. It could be hard to find unsalted butter or cream that would whip. But I learned if you can find unsalted butter, add a little butterfat to that 25% fat cream and it will whip. The pluses were dirt cheap passion fruit and chanterelles and momos for lunch on my day off. And bread rises nicely with less atmospheric pressure :).

3 Likes