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‘Yes Chef’: life at the vanguard of culinary excellence

Burrow, Robin, Smith, Chef John and Yakinthou, Christalla 2015. ‘Yes Chef’: life at the vanguard of culinary excellence. Work, Employment and Society 29 (4) , pp. 673-681. 10.1177/0950017014563103

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This article foregrounds the experiences of a young chef (‘John’) during the early years of his career in the fine dining industry. His descriptions paint a vivid picture of life as an elite chef, which is thrilling, exciting and rewarding, but also mundane, degrading and dehumanizing. The environment John describes is characterized by strong ideologies and him working hard to align himself with a highly gendered (often fantastical) image of what it means to be a haute cuisine chef. John’s narrative informs our understanding of what life is like for this small and rarely studied occupational group. In particular readers gain a detailed, candid and thought-provoking insight into extreme cultures of commitment and practice. John tells us how workers are socialized into accepting, adopting and propagating extreme workplace behaviour. This account speaks to a long-standing interest in extreme workplace practice and commitment, identity regulation and masculinity at work.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Business (Including Economics)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Aggression, Apprenticeship, Bullying, Chef, Fine dining, Narrative, Restaurant, Violence
Publisher: SAGE
ISSN: 0950-0170
Last Modified: 07 Jul 2020 16:30

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