After all, when you have been asked to roast reindeer on a spit outside a concert venue in Sweden on the whim of a fickle guitarist, no culinary challenge is surely too big, or downright strange, to overcome.
But John Quigley, the Glasgow-based chef and restaurateur, faced a test like no other when the economy began to crumble five years ago.
Before the financial world collapsed in 2008, life was pretty sweet at Red Onion, the restaurant the chef has owned with wife Gillian for nine years, on West Campbell Street.
The restaurant's city centre location, close to media and professional services firms, brought a reliable stream of corporate business, while it was near enough to the shops and offices to bring in the "ladies who lunch".
Then there was a reliable weekend trade and diners eager to mark their special occasions in the restaurant.
All that changed, however, when the recession kicked in and as major employers relocated.
Mr Quigley, who has operated restaurants in and around Bath Street for 15 years, said: "Fifteen years ago, there was a company above us, Christie the auctioneers, [and] they spent a lot of money on lunch. We also had STV around the corner and various large media companies and lunch was good.
"That was the core of your business around here. You got your lunch menu right and the customers came and everybody drank as well, the majority of customers. Since 2007 the expense account has gone completely. It virtually went overnight, it was phenomenal."
The new economic order forced the chef to radically reappraise his approach to cooking and to structuring menus. Cuts of beef that might previously not have made the grade were suddenly prized and given prominence in dishes designed to deliver on price and value as well as taste.
Mr Quigley said this "creative cooking", which saw him adopt the tricks and tips passed on to him by his elders, allowed him to offer his lowest ever price, £9.95 for two courses, at the start of the year.
He explained: "Necessity is the mother of invention. We are taking more traditional, cheaper cuts if you like and we are combining them with larger, bulkier items, so if it is mutton it is barley, if it is beef it is potatoes, that sort of thing.
"It is basically clever cooking and you are trying to extract as much value and as much flavour from these and portions as well from these traditional cuts.
"Everyone had to go back to school, basically, to learn how to cook again. The days of throwing a rack of lamb on the grill and charging £24 were gone, and still are I think, because I don't even get that on a Saturday night now."
Mr Quigley welcomed the change, as did his diners, with many appreciating the creativity that goes into designing dishes around shoulders of lamb or haunches of venison.
He recalls regulars embracing his back to basics approach in 2007, when he reintroduced the humble omelette to the menu as the days of austerity began. The way he describes it, people were almost relieved to return to simplicity after a long, decadent party.
Other aspects of his operation have also come under closer scrutiny since the downturn.
The chef has taken steps to recycle waste and use power more efficiently, and has even become a convert to DIY, handling basic repairs, plumbing and refrigeration maintenance to save calling in the experts.
He is considering switching from gas burners to cooker powered by more efficient induction heating.
He now strives to achieve a gross profit to a cash margin on food, though less so on wine, and has embraced the power of social media. The restaurant has about 5000 followers on Twitter, although he believes the benefit from social media will only really be realised in the long term.
He said: "You will never get the return on investment straight away."
In many ways the chef was putting all the skills and tricks he had learned in a diverse and exciting career at the stove.
Although he did not set out to be a career chef, he appreciated food from an early age. Revealing it was "quite cool to cook in our family - long before it became fashionable for me to don the whites" - he was introduced to exotic ingredients such as prawns and mussels on trips to the family's holiday home in Spain in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Formative though those experiences were, he resolved to study at Chelsea Art College and made the move to London in the early 1980s.
Only he never did get round to going to college. Taking a job in a restaurant while he put a portfolio together, he ended up working in the kitchen and found he "absolutely loved it". He also found the "rock and roll hours" were to his liking, a working pattern that would come in handy later in his career.
The restaurant in question was at Andrew Edmonds' wine bar in Soho and it was the mid-1980s.
The Scot was in his element and, at the age of 21, became the youngest chef to be entered into the Good Food Guide. His clientele included staffers from National Magazine House, whose titles included Vogue and Harpers & Queen.
"They all loved us - we were like their little canteen. It was Soho in the 1980s and it was the four-hour lunch. It was phenomenal."
It was during this time that the self-taught chef learned to become a "good shopper", and revelled in exploring the London markets, bakeries, butchers and delicatessens for the best ingredients.
The restaurant and wine bar is there to this day. After five years in Soho he took up what was ultimately to be a job as a "rock and roll chef", beginning with a six-month tour with Tina Turner.
It sounded glamorous, but in reality it was a gruelling experience. He travelled as part of the crew, with his kitchen literally packed in flight cases, and found himself having to cook, and source ingredients in the most taxing conditions.
Mr Quigley said: "It could be like a bullring in Madrid and you would have to clear a space and build a kitchen. You would do everything but put a floor down. It could be outdoors, it could be indoors."
The chef said the experience made him a better kitchen manager and equipped him with the skills to deal with adversity. And it seemed to suit him, because after working for Tina Turner he then went on the road with Janet Jackson, Guns N' Roses, Morrissey, Elton John and Bryan Adams.
While Morrissey "made lots of demands" and Guns N'Roses were off the wall with their requests - guitarist Slash demanded reindeer in Sweden, only he never quite got round to eating it - Adams perhaps presented the biggest test. Mr Quigley, who became firm friends with the Canadian star after spending five years as his private chef, said it was difficult to maintain his vegan diet, particularly in the middle of America.
When the rock and roll years came to an end, Mr Quigley returned to Glasgow. He helped Bobby Paterson launch Mojo on Bath Street, where he met Gillian, before going on to hold executive chef positions with the Big Beat hospitality group and the Art House Hotel, also on Bath Street. He then opened the eponymous Quigley's restaurant on the same street before the chance to open Red Onion, in a site previously operated by Gordon Yuill, arose.
Although recent years have been tough, the chef senses brighter times are ahead. Over the years he has worked hard to build business on the back of Glasgow's growing conference business. He is looking forward to the spin-offs, the Hydro and Commonweath Games will bring, as well as the addition of a further 3000 hotel rooms across the city. There is also the prospect of a 98-bedroom Hampton Inn, operating under one of the Hilton brands, opening across the road.
But he believes the restaurant scene in the city has never been so crowded. He said: "It is scarily competitive and healthy. We can no longer ride on our reputation as such, because there is so much choice now.
"On the down side, there are too many faceless, characterless chains. What you are seeing across these chains is [a] homogenised menu of bruschetta, pasta, pizza. It does not take the brain of Britain to devise those menus. It takes a very low skill set to prepare it the ingredients are as cheap as chips.
"If the average customer goes there and has a pleasant service, a pleasant meal and a bottle of wine, the job is done.
"For me to cook fresh food and compete with that is extremely difficult, but there are ways and means of doing that."