Why Do Chefs Smoke: 5 Reasons You Must Know

Whenever passing by a side alley where the restaurant’s back door is located it is a usual sight to see a chef smoking a cigarette. Or perhaps you work in the kitchen and many of your co-workers or yourself enjoy that cigarette break but there are many people that wonder, why do so many chefs smoke so much?

Well, there are many answers to that question and in this article, I will try and explain it to my best capabilities but many people have different reasons to smoke. However, it won’t remove the fact that chefs do it more than many other professional groups and it gives them a motivation boost towards the workday.

Chefs smoke so much because it relieves stress for many and they can get a break from the high working speed. In addition, chefs usually smoke with their coworkers so they can interact and talk about something else than cooking for a while which can reset their energy outside of the restaurant with circulating air.

As we can see there are multiple reasons why would one smoke as a chef but if you want to fully understand the ”why” we need to dig deeper!

Why Do Chefs Smoke

The reasons usually fall into 5 main reasons on why does a chef smoke and regardless of whether the chef is addicted to nicotine or not, they can smoke because of even one of these reasons. Let’s take a closer look more in-depth.


Let’s start with the obvious. Cigarettes contain nicotine and thousands of more chemicals which make the smoker addicted to them. The addiction comes for others easier than others and I personally enjoy a cigarette from time to time and have never been addicted to it. For me, it is for other reasons which I will talk about shortly.

The average smoker smokes around 16 cigarettes a day which is enough to form an addiction to nicotine. However, there are more ways to be addicted to the cigarette than nicotine. For example the habit, the actual smoking, and other reasons that someone might have.

Relieves stress

Perhaps the biggest reason why chefs say that they smoke so much after addiction is that it relieves stress. Many chefs work for hours and even shifts straight without a single break which is stressful, to say the least. When considering the heat, unbelievably fast working tempo, and multitasking it can get really stressful.

A smoke break will do the trick on relieving stress at the moment which is another reason why people might become addicted to it. However, a study made by the Mental health foundation indicates that even when nicotine may relieve stress at the moment of smoking a cigarette, it will in fact increases anxiety and tension overall. Therefore smoking a cigarette will seem like a good idea for stress relief because the stress levels are already higher than they should.

Break from work

We all that work nearly in any industry know that there are such things as smoke breaks. In a high-end and busy restaurant, this will be a clear and visible sight because there are some days when a chef simply can’t leave the working station due to the intense speed and volume of orders that must be done.

This is where smoke breaks come in. Many chefs can slip from that situation because they have to go for a smoke, where the non-smoker simply doesn’t get to do so, and in addition, the chef needs to work at a higher speed when the smoker is in a break.

This is why many chefs start to smoke and that one 5 minute break in the hard-working day is a real piece of gold when you can go for a smoke, have a break, and relieve that stress temporarily. This is another reason why chefs smoke.

Interaction with coworkers

Another reason why chefs and many other people smoke is the interaction with others! When the chefs, waiters, and even managers work in a restaurant there is very little time to catch up with the coworkers and talk about different things that are going on with their lives, new changes, and about the weather or whatever really.

A smoke break is a perfect solution for this because they can get a break, relieve stress, and have a treasured conversation with a friend or coworker that really just brightens up the workday.

Out of the house

Another major reason for smoking among chefs is that they just simply need to get outside. Working in the intense heat while moving like crazy and doing 10 different things at the same time will get your body temperature to rise a lot. In addition, the air within the restaurant isn’t the best depending on the hood system and ventilation but at the end outside air is always fresher than the grease air in the restaurant.

Smoking isn’t fresh air but the outside air will feel great on the skin, a sight of other people doing their daily things will soothe you, and depending on the area a cool breeze of wind will just make you feel better and ready for work once again.

As we can see there are quite a few reasons why especially chefs tend to smoke and as a chef, I get it but smoking is bad for the health which should be always acknowledged.

Is Chef a hard job

Depending on the restaurant the difficulty of the job varies a lot but in general, yes, being a chef is hard. I have listed many reasons why below so you can get an understanding of why is that.

  • Very few breaks
  • Physically demanding
  • High temperatures
  • Usually, work on holidays
  • Most weekend are workdays
  • 80% cleaning 20% cooking
  • Sick days are the doom of your coworkers
  • In most cases, pay doesn’t match the work

Despite all the factors that you might find reasons if being a chef hard it holds many great qualities why many people want to become a chef more than anything. However, if your dream job is becoming a chef for seeing it on television, you should definitely learn more about it…

Is being a chef a stressful job

The chef’s profession is considered stressful for multiple reasons. As a chef, you must handle multiple orders, take care of hygiene and sanitation, communicate with coworkers while being organized when working long days without many breaks in high temperatures while getting paid just enough to pay the bills.

So yes, if you’re considering becoming a chef I would recap your qualities and determination. However, if you want to be a chef don’t get discouraged because it does have a lot of great sides as well which is why so many people are chefs in the first place.

Are chefs allowed to have tattoos

I personally haven’t encountered a restaurant where chefs weren’t allowed to have tattoos and the reason for this is because chefs work at the back of the house, therefore they deal with very few anti-tattoo people so they have more freedom to have them.


Smoking in the restaurant business and especially with the chefs isn’t exactly a new thing and I have been going for a long time and with the answers that were shown above, I am not really surprised why chefs smoke more than other professional groups.

Even when smoking may give a temporary pleasure it’s good to remember that it isn’t healthy and has many bad consequences but in the heat of the restaurant, I can relate if you have the need to have an occasional smoke.

Here You’ll Find My Favorite Kitchen Equipment.

Thanks for reading this article! I hope that it brought you real value that you can benefit from in your personal life! Here is my top kitchen equipment that I seriously couldn’t live without, and I think they could ease your life as well as they do mine.

  • Knife set: As a chef, I can’t stand dull, poor-quality knives without any design. My absolute favorite kitchen knife set is the Gangshan 3-Piece Knife Set. It comes with a handcrafted 8″ chef’s knife and a 3.5″ paring knife. What I love even more than these flawless knives is the walnut knife block which is incredible and unique.
  • Skillet: In addition to knives and my unwillingness to bargain with its quality is the cookware. My favorite skillet is Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron Skillet. This particular skillet is 9″ in size, it is heavy, it gets very hot, which is what is required to get a good sear, and it is just beautiful, as are all Le Creuset products. Le Creuset doesn’t need an introduction as a brand, as it is one of the world’s rated brands.
  • Food processor: I remember when I hadn’t a food processor at home. It wasn’t easy! But now, when I use my Ninja BN601 Food Processor, I can make anything super fast, which saves me many hours per week. This food processor has 1000 watts of power and four options, including chopping, slicing, dough, and purees. I also like the middle-sized 9cup (2.1l) bowl as it is big enough yet not too big to look unfitting in my kitchen.
  • Tweezers: Dalstrong Professional Cooking Tweezers are like tongs but much more elegant, thin, and easy to use. They are great for virtually anything, but flipping, turning, and grabbing with them is easy and makes cooking much more fun! These Dalstrgon tongs are titanium coated and very durable. Also, I like the black color instead of the everyday steel.

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Omar Abdalla

I’m the owner of JRS. While I love writing about food, I also enjoy peaceful and relaxed cookouts at home.

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