The Importance of a Sous Chef


I like to think I’m superwoman. Seriously. I truly believe I can handle anything, try at any moment, discount with any obstacles. Oh, you have more work for me? Pile it on! Another errand, another appointment, another event? Bring it! I can do anything! But in reality, no one can be a superhero. At one point or another, we all need a little help. That became abundantly clear when I cracked under the pressure of Easter dinner this past weekend.

I decided to make a rack of lamb and a couple of smaller sides – all in all, not difficult dishes. But it seemed as though one thing after another went wrong – the beets wouldn’t cook, the meat thermometer wasn’t reading the correct temperature, and so much more. I was extremely frustrated, slamming cabinet doors and cursing the lamb for being so temperamental. I saw the word “Doomed!” flash before my eyes.

In the middle of my holy fit of terror, my husband entered the room and with a smile he said, “What can I do to help? I’ll be your sous chef!” Immediately, I gave him tasks (and only barked at him occasionally for not performing the duties as I would have because, you know, I’m always right). But no matter my bad attitude, he kept plugging away, helping me until all of the cooking was done and all of the dishes were piled in the sink. We felt as if we’d run a marathon.

Later that night, I began thinking about the role of a sous chef: to support the executive chef, to make sure the kitchen is running smoothly and to make the job easier with a second pair of hands, and thus, more enjoyable. So, really, a chef without a sous chef might as well pack it in – it’s going to be a long and stressful road. And such is life.

Without my husband to lend a hand every now and then (and believe me, he’s as generous as they come), to support me, to lift me up when I’m down, my superwoman exterior would definitely start to slip. He’s the Robin to my Batman. I’m the Olive Oil to his Popeye (okay, they’re not technically superheroes, but I love them!). We’re a team.

Whether in the kitchen, or in life, everyone needs a sous chef… and I’m so grateful for mine.