So, after seeing some posts on the married to a chef facebook page I got to thinking. Someone just celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary. For someone who is attached to a chef, it is not as glamorous as having your own personal chef. I know some people would argue with me but there are many times that I think being married to a chef is more difficult than being married to a 9-5er. If you are part of this club, you can have a laundry list of things you go through that no other "normal" marriages would. It got me thinking so much, that I thought I would do some research on chef marriages and find some good words of advice. It was not easy! You Google "chefs and marriage," and what you come up with is affairs or chefs cooking for a marriage equality event. No wonder it's so hard to find support! Kerilyn Russo's site, Marriedtoachef.com came up quite often too. ;) But, there are many of us that love being married to a chef and face it head on every day because every day is different, a new adventure. We NEVER get bored being married to a chef!
The marriage that popped into my head was the marriage of Julia and Paul Child. I found out so much reading about them. They could laugh together at an elaborate dinner that had love poured into it but turned out less than appetizing. They created their own traditions. Since they couldn't get things together in time to send Christmas cards, they sent their spectacular Valentine's Day cards. How many of us have to celebrate holidays on another day? They knew that holidays in the food industry are not normally for celebrating with family. We all go through this, yet they accepted it. They supported each other in what they loved most. It wasn't a one sided relationship. Sometimes, as spouses of chefs we pour ourselves into our chefs' careers. We can't forget ourselves. They want us to succeed just as much as we help them to. Paul's journal was a form of reflection. We should reflect on the achievements we have made over the time we have been married. Small victories add up to big things over time. How many of you have a chef who, in the beginning, was figthing for a job even as a fry cook just to get their foot in the door? Jobs were frequent, and at times brief. It's a huge achievement to still be a strong couple when your chef has multiple job offers at a time. As much as Paul was supportive, he was confident enough in himself that he could celebrate the moments when Julia was in the spotlight, and without envy. As a couple, we should celebrate those moments together. Julia herself admitted to keeping the passion in her marriage with her lunch time "breaks". You know what I mean. This can get put not only on the back burner but on the back of the stove, that dusty ledge where the egg timer sits. The words that ring true with me is "We are a team, we do everything together." Ah, the use of the word "we". Julia always recognized that behind a good chef there is a dedicated spouse/significant other. In the morning they snuggled in bed together; when he was not needed he did the things he loved. He could survive on his own, which most of us do on a daily basis.
I have found that many chefs' relationships are private, especially celebrity chefs. I would love to hear more about relationhips that have been successful and withstood the test of time. In restaurant years they are sometimes as short as the turn of an egg timer. What about those of us who want theirs to withstand the time of a Rolex that's been buried in a swamp for 70 years and is still ticking when it's found. Extreme, yes I know.
I think this is truly a question that has to be taken to the streets and will involve some interviews. Send me an email if you know someone who has been married/attached to a chef for a long time at: firstname.lastname@example.org. In the meantime, I will be conducting extensive research.