Cooking an inspired meal can be exciting but also tiring – and professional chefs do it just about every day! Pay some special attention to those chefs who feed people in the local community or all over the world during Chef Appreciation Week.
History of Chef Appreciation Week
The background of Chef Appreciation Week can be traced back to 2013 when the day was founded by Donald and Lisa Crutch of the organization called Chefs Against Cancer. The purpose behind establishing the day was to show appreciation for and celebrate the hard work of the folks who serve with dedication in the culinary industry.
By 2018, Chef Appreciation Week had grown to be celebrated in many restaurants throughout the United States and eventually to more than 30 countries all over the globe. Each year, individuals and companies unite to show appreciation for the chiefs in their lives with the theme: Great People Inspire Great Food!
In addition to celebrating and saying thank you to chefs all over the world, Chef Appreciation Week also encourages restaurant owners and chefs to participate in programs that can make the world a better place. From running a kitchen in a more environmentally sustainable way to preventing food waste with creative recipes, the opportunities for chefs and culinary teams to collaborate are exciting!
How to Celebrate Chef Appreciation Week
Chef Appreciation Week is the ideal time to think about how amazing it is to eat a well-made meal, and then consider the person behind the delicious food on the table! Show some love by celebrating with some of these ideas and activities for enjoying the event:
Say Thank You to a Chef
One of the best ways to celebrate Chef Appreciation Week is to find a time during the week to show a chef who is a friend or family member just how much they are loved. Send a card or flowers, buy them a little gift or take them out to dinner – so they don’t have to be the one cooking for once.
Even people who don’t know a chef personally can still celebrate. Folks who eat out at restaurants may not realize how nice it is when a chef receives a compliment from the dining room floor. It doesn’t need to be a big deal, but it’s great to ask the server to let the chef know that their food was delicious. It’s just a little way to celebrate the hard work it is to work in a kitchen and cook creative, tasty meals!
Learn About Some Famous Chefs
An excellent activity to engage in for Chef Appreciation Week might be to learn a bit more about some famous chefs and what they have gone through to get where they are. The restaurant industry can be a brutal one, so do some research and get inspired by some of these folks who have worked their way to being famous chefs:
Arguably the most famous chef in the entire world, Ramsay is a British chef whose demeanor can be unpredictable but the food he makes is absolutely incredible. His group of restaurants was founded in 1997 and has received 17 of the most prestigious Michelin awards overall.
Giada de Laurentiis
She’s an Italian-American chef who has written several cookbooks and also acts as a celebrity television personality. Although she is a chef, she comes from a long line of family members who were in show business and the entertainment industry.
Perhaps best known for his bleach blonde, spiked hair, Fieri is the winner of an Emmy Award for his cooking show, he owns at least 70 different restaurants and has written several cookbooks.
This iconic chef from the Food Network is not only a cookbook author but has become one of the most famous female chefs in television history. Plus, she has also launched her own lifestyle magazine – and she probably coined the term “EVOO”, which stands for one of her favorite ingredients, Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
Watch Some Chefs on Film
One fun way to celebrate Chef Appreciation Week might be to watch some shows or films that feature the hard work of chefs, whether from a dramatic perspective or with a whole bowl full of culinary laughs. Check out these interesting films about chefs for starters:
- Julie & Julia (2009). Based on a true story, this film by Nora Ephron contrasts the life of famous American chef Julia Child with an aspirational chef in New York who endeavors to make all 524 of Julia Child’s recipes in a year.
- The Hundred-Foot Journey (2014). This delightful romantic comedy with Helen Mirren and Manish Dayal shows what happens when an Indian family moves into France and sets up a restaurant across the street from a French Michelin star restaurant.
- Burnt (2015). This gritty film starring Bradley Cooper shows some of the dirty underbelly of what happens when a chef is working too hard and living under big pressure.
- Ratatouille (2007). Sure, this one is an animated film, but that doesn’t make it any less entertaining! This comedy drama tells the story of a rat named Remy who loves to cook but, of course, has difficulty getting a job. So he enlists the help of a restaurant garbage boy, and an important relationship ensues.
Be an Agent of Change
Through the celebration of Chef Appreciation Week, chefs are encouraged to join together in collaboration to be agents of change. The website for this important annual event offers a range of ideas and resources that chefs can implement to build into their community and benefit the world around them. From wellness and sustainability action in the back of the restaurant to food waste prevention activities such as Stop Food Waste Day, the folks involved with the events of this week are excited about the impact that chefs can have on their communities.
Chef Appreciation Week FAQs
Are chefs well paid?
The average salary of a chef in the United States in 2022 was somewhere around $60,000.
Do chefs wear gloves?
It depends on the law, but many chefs find it is better to practice proper handwashing and only wear gloves when serving ready made foods. 
Should chefs get tips?
In some restaurants, tips are collected and divided among staff. In others, chefs are not part of the tipped professionals because they already make a living wage. 
How do chefs sharpen their knives?
Most professional chefs use a sharpening stone, a whetstone or a honing steel to sharpen their knives. 
Can chefs wear shorts?
For safety and sanitary reasons, chefs are supposed to wear long pants in the kitchen.