am I too old?


Joined Oct 18, 2018
I started a thread about midlife career changes into the world of professional chefdom/restaurant ownership 7 months ago. I'm still feeling the itch. I want to work in a kitchen. I want to learn to cook like a professional. I want to (one day) be a chef/owner of a restaurant. I have tried volunteering in a professional kitchen...I found 1 very short-lived gig and was rejected at another (cited reason COVID concerns, which seems legit). My I too old? I'm almost 50. I have taught myself a lot as a passionate amateur chef for the past 10 years, but starting out at the bottom rung in a professional kitchen at I too old? I am in pretty good shape (physically) for a 50 year old, if that helps:). Thanks for any feedback, and success stories would be most helpful!! Thanks!!

Joined Dec 23, 2004
Are you still alive? If so then you're probably not too old. It's hard to make any predictions about your health or circumstances five years, ten years or fifteen years from now. But if you're still around in 20 years do you want to look back and say you lived the life you wanted? There are people who start med school at your age!

I won't blow smoke up your skirt- it's hard work. But it's not like learning to code or practice medicine. Most people can cook to some degree, you just need to expand your skills and learn how to do things in a production setting. That's the main difference.

The main thing comes down to finances. Can you afford to quit what you're doing now? Can you afford to start at the bottom again and live on $10-$15 an hour? Can you continue what you're doing now and cook on the side? Is there a realistic path to owning your own restaurant or business? If that's what you really want you need to approach is like a business.

I'm not much older than you and have done this for 30 years or so. I have no trouble running circles around the kids half my age, mostly because I quit drinking almost a decade ago. If you have a love for it there's probably a way. Too many people discuss passion, talk about your commitment and dedication instead.
Joined Feb 8, 2009
You don't need to be a Chef in order to own a restaurant. You need a vision of what kind of restaurant you would like to own and what kind of food you want to serve. Then learn how to cook that/those kinds of food. I was 47 when I started my Food Service Business and Catering company. I had a lot of experience but, I needed a lot of experience for what I set out to accomplish. If I wanted to open a sandwich shop I would need to learn French cooking methods. I think in your cases it may take a bit more thinking of what you need to learn........ChefBillyB
Joined Dec 23, 2004
Chefbillyb is correct of course, you don't need to be a chef to open a restaurant. Most of the places I have worked the owner was more of a FOH sort of person which was why I was hired as the chef. IMO it makes sense to get some kitchen experience though to understand the way the operation will work. By the same token it's important for the owner to have a broad understanding of his or her business.
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