I am still cheffing out in the mines, I guess the career is one of those different ones . I was told when I started that you will either love it or hate it, you will know this within a few months.
My interviewer (my first head chef) told me to have a real good think about becoming/training as a chef- back then there wasn't so many tv shows/celebrity chefs etc..
He told me honestly what to expect for example-if you like having time off, getting rich- having public holidays off, friends birthdays, family gatherings, social events, basically having a normal life then don't become a chef because you can wave it all good bye.
I agree with you for your middle son by steering him away from it-lol can he not do it as a hobbie? Saying that I wouldn't change what I have done in the industry and I love it more now than I did then, I learnt before it all went pc in the industry, things were a lot how can you say erm less tame back them :),
Like any job its about bitting your tongue,keeping your mouth shut when you want to answer back and taking things said with a piece of salt-no pun.
I had some really good mentors back then, and my hard training has made me who iam today.
Hope that helps