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Hi...Im a retired chef and havent worked in the last year. Im thinking about applying for a seasonal cook/kitchen manager job but I have to wonder if I have the energy and stamina to handle a kitchen job. I would appreciate any ffeedback from anyone whos worked in the kitchen on a seasonal basis and how stressful it is also is there alot of heavy lifting?..Ty...for any reply.

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Hi Debra!

From my experience, in general, the kitchen is a pretty active place for most of the employers who advertise on our site, as I'm sure you're familiar from your experience as a chef. But as with all things, it depends on the job itself.

For many of the companies in National Parks, the peak summer season is pretty non-stop, fast paced work in the kitchen. The crowds keep things really busy, and they can be unpredictable. For example, it's not uncommon for a tour-bus to pull up and drop off a bus load full of people at 3 PM, on a Tuesday, which might usually be a slower time in the kitchen when the staff is doing prep work for the dinner shift, but now all of the sudden, a dining room full of covers just walked in the door and another lunch rush has started.

However, a lot of operations and jobs have a much more predictable level of business, which allows the staff to be better prepared and rarely caught off guard by an unusually busy rush, so these opportunities would in general be less stressful. Two examples that come to mind are Dude/Guest Ranches and Employee Dining Rooms. With guest ranches, they typically have a set number of guests every week, and a consistent meal schedule. So you always know exactly how many people you'll be feeding, and when you'll be feeding them. The same structure typically applies to Employee Dining Rooms (which many National Park operations have). The number of employees doesn't fluctuate greatly throughout the season, and meal times stay the same, so you have much more predictable scheduling and meal planning.

As far as heavy lifting, kitchen work, as you know, is pretty physical. You're on your feet a lot, carrying dishes, and sometimes unloading the food delivery trucks and stocking the pantry and walk-ins. Again, the predictability of business levels, delivery times, and meal times will affect how frequent and how strenuous this part of the work will be, but some level of steady physical effort can be expected.

With all that being said, I absolutely know folks just like you who have worked seasonal kitchen jobs for numerous seasons with no problems at all! I think if you have kitchen experience, you won't be too surprised by the nature of the work. But I will reiterate, jobs in restaurants in the National Parks can be very busy during the peak season, so I'd keep that in mind during your search. Best of luck!

Thank you Matt.

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