Careerchanger making the first step

Joined Nov 26, 2001
Hi everyone,

Well well well - it's been a few months since I've posted, but I had to share with all of you my new perspective. Two months ago I was a potential career-changer with a million questions in my mind. I knew that I wanted to return to the foodie industry, but wasn't sure the route. I was intimidated with returning to school at age 32. I was concerned about making the transistion. I was afraid of..... you know - fill in the blank.

I had an opportunity to apprentice with a friend of mine who runs a 4 star restaurant .....but I also wanted to look at culinary schools. After speaking with him sevearl times he convinced me that I needed a solid foundation to do what I wanted to do in my new career.

I spent lots of time evaluating schools and chose the one that I thought would be best for me. Best for my goals as a new chef. Well let me tell you - after two months at school, I can not be happier with my decision to head to school instead of going straight under a chef.

First of all, the inspiration I get from the people I go to class with as well as the teachers is amazing. My passion for this business is growing by leaps and bounds (and I thought I was jazzed before I got here). I never realized how much I didn' t know. Some days I wander around the halls of the school and just window-gaze. I spend countless hours buried in the books and love every minute of it. I now understand the beauty of the contribution of classical chefs like Carem, Escoffier - and the newer breed of chefs like Alice Water. The school is definately not a cakewalk and the expectations are high, but that it what makes going to school such a challenge.

So I guess what I'm trying to say is that - I coudn't be happier with my decision.

....David Patrick
Joined Jan 11, 2002
Congratulations on the courage to make a career change. this is a major change. I am 51 and want to enter this field but wonder if, my age this could be done. thanks for such an inspiring letter. Gary
Joined Jul 31, 2000
It's great to see someone who is truely enjoying there schooling.

Keep us posted, And as KyleW asked, Where are you attending?
Joined Nov 26, 2001
Rainmaker93 - I have met two students on campus that are older than 51. They both love being here and look forward to getting out into the industry.

Oh - my school - I'm attending the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY.

I hit meat fabrication in just a few I'll let you all know how I end up butchering that class!!!!

heheh - punn intended!
Joined Nov 29, 2001
After working 21 years on Wall Street as a secretary, I had planned to segue into the food industry. I used to say that "I worked from 8 to 4 to finance what I did from 4:01 on." I wanted to do something that gratified me while I was doing it and not simply for a financial payoff that would only come afterward. Having loved to cook for so long, I knew the culinary arts was "it."

During my career, I attended culinary school (Peter Kump's). I had the misfortune to meet a man who would become my second husband and biggest mistake. Apparently, he believed my culinary education was...ahem...a hobby. Something I'd "outgrow." He didn't support my culinary education as career prep, merely believing I was "honing my hobby." No matter how many times I made it clear to him that my career would be in the culinary field, it never sank in. Despite this, I stayed on course.

Fast forward to my completion at Kump. When I informed my then-husband I would be quitting my $50K a year job at a Wall Street brokerage to pursue culinary aspirations, I thought he'd have a stroke. "We can't take a hit like that!" he cried. I told him to buy a few less CD's so I could do with my life as I desired. In the end, I drop kicked him out the door and pursued my dream career.

There is nothing in the world like preparing food for people who really appreciate it, tell you so, then pay for it. You get to do what you truly love and actually make your living at it. Follow your dream and do what you love. School gives you the "toolbox" which you will then use in "practical application" under your friend, the chef.

Enjoy the process, it gets even better, the more you learn. The one clue-in I can give you to the difference between school and a professional kitchen is to speed it up 10x. It will seem nearly impossible some days but with stamina and a stubborn streak that helps you prevail, you will experience feelgoods like you never imagined.
Joined Jun 30, 2001
HI everyone,

I too was a career changer. I finished Dental school in Mid-90's. I took the dental Board exams right after graduation, and passed with flying colors, in case I'd feel that I'd like to go back. I've decided that I would go to culinary school (CIA) after passing the board exams but my first priority is to finish school in case I change my mind in the future. I've always wanted to be a pastry chef since I was a kid but felt that having a good educational background wouldn't hurt in case time comes that I get tired of baking.

After paying my dues (after a couple of years), I now work as a consultant to a couple of companies and have a small business as well.

Good luck to all of you career switchers out there.

Joined Nov 29, 2001
Me too!! After 20 years in the advertising business, I am picking up a new "towel" to throw around...I start at CSCA in April. Just have to follow my heart and put that passion in the right place.

Good luck.
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