Mid Life Crisis

I am having a mid life crisis – what the fuck does that mean; I don’t want to buy a Porsche and I don’t think I want to run away with a nubile 24 year old – I don’t think!

My crisis is not about reliving a lost youth – I had a kick arse, balls to the wall youth that I would not change – given the opportunity to repeat it I would make the same mistakes, forge the same lifelong friendships, crash the same bikes, bloody the same noses, tend to the same wounds and fall in and out of love with the same magnificent women.

So what on earth is the problem – I suppose my frustration is possibly similar to that of a lot of men my age – I am halfway through my life and what do I have to show for it; we are not talking about stuff here we are talking about substance.

I am passionate about my work and self absorbed enough to believe that I am damn good at it; but have I done enough to leave to my mark.

This is the essence of my crisis – I have worked like a man possessed to get to the position I find myself in; but have I fallen into the trap of believing my own publicity, have I taken my foot of the gas? I know I am capable of more and I find myself at a crossroad and this is the crux of my dilemma

I made a conscious decision to move away from the stove, to establish a business with which I could trade on my experience and I believe I started it at the right time. The Blues contract and the consulting working that ensued as a result defined my role as consultant. I have been very fortunate in the gigs that have come my way and I have leapt at the challenges that have been presented to me. I have been invited all around the world and the nature of my business has allowed me to take up these foreign challenges.

I have been in a privileged position to have been invited to be a judge for the Eat Out Top 10 for the last four years, but it’s my third year that presented me with my internal turmoil.

I entered into the judging process because I have always firmly believed that an informed and ‘qualified’ judging panel would help to give recognition to those chefs and restaunteurs who were consistently going above and beyond.

In the third year however I felt I was now on the outside looking in, criticising rather than doing. When I sat talking to Margot Janse & Richard Carstens recently I felt like a fraud – they were doing it and I was judging it – it’s not that I am not qualified to be judging it’s just that I miss being judged.

My food journey feels like it has been hijacked by my ever so fabulous food alchemy, I appear in the media more than most but nobody knows my food – Oh I have cooked and dazzled at all sorts of one off media events but that’s not the same as producing the goods lunch and dinner day in day out.

It is that consistency that I crave – I am a chef after all, not a celebrity chef but a chef who craves recognition for his food not for the fact that his ugly mug has appeared on television.

Is this the root of my crisis – I am not sure, but I am my work, my work defines me and as I push on into my forties if I loose touch with what I am passionate about, I loose my passion

I don’t need a Porsche I need a pass.

6 Comments

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6 responses to “Mid Life Crisis

  1. You are quite welcome to borrow my pass anytime

  2. Cheer up Pete, spring is around the corner. You are doing great work, there is an author in you! Great writing

  3. It is completely understandable that a chef with your passion for his craft could feel the way that you do. I think that only the true chefs will always aim to be known for their food, and not their faces on TV, although it could always be helpful. You wanna sweat, chuck a pan or two and feel the joy at the end of a hectic service. We al get to a point where we want more normal hours, and a Saturday afternoon to watch the rugby with the boys, rather than prep for dinner. But when its gone, you start to miss it.
    Here is some good news for you.
    You are known for your food. Damn good food. Your knowlege of food and the industry as a whole. We should be swopping positions, and you should be sharing your passion, knowlege and experiences with the young, in order to build the future for others.

  4. What you need Pete is a good hairdresser. Welcome to cyberspace.

  5. marlene

    Well put, Pete! I don’t think it’s a mid-life crisis, merely a yearning to be recognized more for your craft, and it appears to be overshadowed by all the extraneous bits that exist only because you’re brilliant at them too! It’s understandable, and more easily so from the outside looking in.
    Remember the force (which you re-named sauce!) – may it continue to be with us! What we love most about the whole shebang that encompasses your talents is the depth of it!

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