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What's a Day Off? Chefs Share Epic Working Streaks

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Chefs work notoriously long hours, but they often also work many days in a row without a day off. A few chefs around town shared their longest work streaks—just reading about them can make anyone ready for a vacation.

Tel'Veh Restaurant & Wine Bar's Dimo Kolouas says that his record of working at the restaurant is 16 weeks straight. He set his all-time record of seven months at one of his first chef jobs. Chef/Owner Domenico Cornacchia of Assaggi Mozzarella Bar, Assaggi Osteria and Bistro Vivant, has worked for eight months straight. Fluffy Thoughts Cakes' Lara Stuckey says the longest she has gone without a day off is 18 days.

Andrew Markert, executive chef at Beuchert's Saloon, worked for 103 days straight—from January 2 until April 14—to get the restaurant open. Once the restaurant was open, he cooked without a day off from February 19 until April 14.

Chef Kyle Bailey and Pastry Chef Tiffany MacIsaac of Birch and Barley and GBD say that their longest working stretch was exactly 100 days when they were working at Allen & Delancey in New York. "At 99 we could have taken a day but we decided 'What the hell, 100 sounds awesome,'" she recalls.

When the pair was opening GBD, they went "about a month and a half" without a day off. "At a certain point you kind of stop counting," she says. "I worked at least four shifts that lasted longer than 24 hours. The record was 35 hours straight. During this period there was a two-week stretch where you might have seen Kyle running between GBD and Birch—gotta work that fried chicken off—or you might have seen me taking a 10-minute power nap outside of GBD, Birch or my test/production kitchen—gotta get that energy."
—Amy Cavanaugh

Tiffany MacIsaac and Kyle Bailey [Photo: R. Lopez]

GBD (Golden Brown Delicious)

1323 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20036 202-524-5210 Visit Website

Birch & Barley

1337 14th Street Northwest, , DC 20005 (202) 567-2576 Visit Website