These days, the glamour of being a professional chef often glosses over the sacrifices it takes to sustain a career as one. On her Eggbeater blog, pastry chef Shuna Fish Lydon writes about the social toll that restaurant work takes on the men and women who toil in kitchens, often with little to no time off. She argues that they should not let work prevent them from attempting to have a well-rounded schedule, because balance will ultimately make them a better chef.

The crazy hours and high-stress environment of restaurants can work in favor of a chef who prefers his/her kitchen and cohorts over the company of family and friends. It is almost always the case, whether purposeful or not, that a chef is too busy to attend any events unrelated to work.

But Lydon says that 20 years as a pastry chef at top restaurants have taught her the importance of maintaining relationships outside of the industry.

When all we are to our cooks is our own insularity, our own tunnel vision, we do not teach them anything but what comes out of a washing machine on rinse cycle for far too long. It is important, and vital, to our abilities as leaders and executioners and food makers to see beyond our own noses. Relationships beyond our kitchens are important and necessary.

Sounds like pretty good advice for anyone, no matter what industry you’re in. Something to think about as 2012 winds down.

[via Eggbeater]