Being a chef is hard work.

Between making sure dishes go out on time and exploring unique approaches to traditional food, cooking professionally is no piece of cake. Just ask chef Anne Burrell.

Burrell can attest to the all-consuming profession of cooking for a living that is both mentally and physically tiring:

"It's nights, it's weekends, it is long hours, it's hot. It doesn't pay well. It's standing up. You don't get to wear pretty dresses to work, you don't get to have a lovely manicure, you wash your hands 1000 times a day. It is physically demanding."

While Burrell is thrilled to have found her passion in life, she won't sugar-coat the exhausting life of professional chef: "Whoever said being a chef was glamorous...? It cracks me up! I have no idea where that came from."

Burrell is always up to the challenge though, citing hard work and dedication as the key elements to progressing in the culinary world. "You spend a lifetime and a career practicing and redoing and repeating. There is no shortcut for experience." According to the chef, there is no substitute for direct knowledge acquired from spending hours in the kitchen. It is not a process you can rush. "Just because you work in a kitchen does not mean you are a chef," she explains. "I think people try to rush to get the chef title too quickly and they miss a lot of experiences."

Check out the slideshow above to learn what it takes to be a great chef according to Anne Burrell.

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