Halee Raff

My name is Halee Raff, and I was born in Chicago, Illinois.

I never had an interest in cooking growing up. I learned how to cook out of desperation. When I was 16, I was enrolled in a program that withheld food from us, and I would hang out in the kitchen and sneak food. That’s where I found my interest in cooking. I learned how to cook out of desperation and ended up loving it.

Once I turned 18, my parents told me I needed to attend college. I wanted to piss them off, so I told them I wanted to attend culinary school.

I worked in Michelin fine dining for five years. I’ve dealt with much stupid shit but worked under a few great chefs. can’t imagine returning to kitchen life that drains you of your time, energy, and passion. I started my business 2.5 years ago, and now I work 24/7, but I wouldn’t change that.

You have to work for others to understand your learning style. I wouldn’t have been able to open a successful business without watching others succeed and fail.

Some things I’ve learned along the way: If you’re in a bad mood or upset at the world, it will show in your food. Leave your shit outside the kitchen. It will still be there when you’re done. If this is what you want to do, then your bullshit shouldn’t be stopping you. Another thing is your chefs will always tell you they see “great things” in you and will offer you the world “someday.” It’s really just to latch you, so you don’t leave. Fuck them.

You will get paid and treated like shit. You will work when you’re told and expect to perform You will not see your friends or partners. Put your head down, work, and absorb all you can. Don’t let a shitty chef whisper yell at you during service about how much you suck. If this is what you want to do, show in your food.

There are some wonderful chefs out there to learn and look up to.
It’s up to you to decide what you put up with.