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>Do you tend to get take away and enjoy the fact that you don't have to cook that day, or does your professional pride extend into your personal life and you still make an effort to whip something up?
It can go both ways. Usually it's the takeaway route, the last thing you want to do after work is cook another fucking meal. Days off, it sort of depends on your motivation. You have the ability to chuck something really nice together with whatever you happen to have in the cupboards, so that can happen, because it is really very easy and you're almost on autopilot, but finding the strength and motivation to pick up a knife on your day off can be a real challenge.
Another factor is you're often just not that hungry - you taste food all day, and have constant access to it, so you either end up filling up on shift or being put off the very idea of eating anyway. Most common after work meal was beer and drugs.
On days off, it really just depends how much effort you can muster. When I lived with other chefs and we had days off we'd usually make something, typically a stew or pizzas (we had a pizza stone and a good oven) or store cupboard pasta. It's very, very quick and easy for a couple of chefs to make something like that. We'd never half arse it - we simply couldn't, it's beaten out of you very early on - but we'd make stuff that didn't really ever require a whole arse to be good in the first place. I don't believe any professional chef has ever made, say, a souffle at home. If they have, they need sectioned.
Italian and Japanese food was what I'd lean towards when cooking solo, as it's really easy to make a very, very good carbonara or donburi very quickly on your own. I would try and push myself to eat proper food and the rice cooker was a crutch. Some sort of meat and/or veg simmered in a sauce with loads of flavour on some perfect fluffy rice doesn't really ever get old, same with three or four ingredient pasta. A working chef's fridge is usually just eggs, butter, lots of jars of odd pickled stuff and cured meats. Then you'd just buy some meat and veg whenever you felt like actually cooking. You learn quickly a weekly shop is pointless, you will never cook meals on any sort of schedule or regularity at home.
When I was a cheflad living with a girlfriend it was a little better - we ended up with the agreement that I'd do all the prep and she'd do the rest. So I'd just chop all the shit up and leave her to it. That was great, people often express nervousness at cooking for a chef but any food I don't have to fucking cook is going to be appreciated, believe me.
Now I'm mostly out of the catering game, I find myself watching Youtube channels about cooking and trying stuff at home in a way I never did, even when working in menu development - there was always a clear delineation between work and home cooking, I never even thought of attempting to workshop a recipe at home, but now I watch shit like Bon Appetit and go make 6 hour ragu and all of that. It's almost, almost to the point where it's just a hobby, and I think I enjoy it more now.