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Monday, November 12, 2007 

Not everyone is a Top Chef

And, quite frankly, that's OK. Sure you have the Stars in the kitchen, but it really requires TEAM WORK to make a restaurant work.

San Francisco, one of the foodiest of foodie towns, is finding it difficult to keep it's "kitchen staff pantry" stocked.

....Craigslist has dozens of help-wanted listings from the Bay Area's top restaurants - all vying for the dwindling numbers of experienced cooks willing to put in long, hard hours for pay that barely covers their cost of living.

"They say they have all these bills and have to pay the rent, and they can't be making $12-$13 an hour," Lahlou said.

That crunch, plus many young cooks' expectations of the "Top Chef" high life, are just two of the factors that may make San Francisco's unique mix of chef-owned high-quality neighborhood restaurants a thing of the past.

Across the country, restaurant owners complain of staffing shortages. Many partly blame the newly glamorous role of chefs in the media, which has created a legion of chef-wannabes. But San Francisco's high cost of living, minimum wage laws and new sick leave and health insurance mandates mean that restaurants are being hit harder here than in other cities. - SFGate


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