Chef Discusses Challenges in the Gastronomy Industry: “Living to Cook, but Not Living What I Cook

Chef Cândida Batista has highlighted a critical issue that directly affects the category of cooks: low wages. According to the chef, it is unfair that a profession as essential and demanding as cooking is undervalued in salaries. She asserts that, like in other professions, cooks dedicate years of study and practice to perfecting their culinary skills. Still, many of them earn less than the amount necessary for a decent living.


The chef cited the price charged for a tasting menu in a renowned restaurant as an example. According to Cândida Batista, a quality tasting menu can easily exceed the value of a minimum wage. “It’s sad to see that many cooks don’t even receive the value of a meal they would be capable of creating,” the chef lamented.

The situation is even more concerning, considering gastronomy is one of the main tourist attractions in many cities worldwide. Tourists pay significant amounts to enjoy a high-level gastronomic experience, but often, the cooks behind these creations need to be adequately recognized and compensated.

“It’s a worrying reality,” explains Chef Candida. “While we receive minimum wage, the value of a tasting menu in a quality restaurant is astronomical. Most of us will never have the opportunity to experience what we work so hard to create.”

With Generation Z being labeled lazy by Generation X for refusing to accept exploitation, there is a significant paradigm shift. “Currently, there is a growing demand for dignified treatment and working conditions that allow for a satisfying personal life, not just mere survival,” adds Chef Cândida.

With multiple sources of income, Chef Candida acknowledges the privilege of enjoying exclusive gastronomic experiences. “Only with the salary of a cook would I never have the opportunity to visit restaurants that serve the level of food that I admire,” she shares.

The basic remuneration within high-level kitchens reflects the difficulty cooks face in experiencing what they produce with so much effort. “Paying minimum wage while selling tasting menus above 1000 reais highlights this disparity,” points out Chef Candida.

“The customer experience is essential to my creation. It’s hard to innovate without understanding how my customer feels,” Chef Cândida continues. “Furthermore, the opportunity to work in various kitchens and learn from different chefs is crucial to expanding my knowledge and skills.”

Despite the challenges, Chef Candida remains optimistic and eager to learn. “I believe there is always something new to learn and that knowledge is never too much. I love being curious, asking questions, and comparing methods to find the most efficient way,” she concludes.

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