How to get started?

Joined Jun 25, 2010
Hi All, I am a newbie here and have a bit of a "dilemma".

Here is some background:

I am an engineer by practice, having obtained a B.S. Degree from Boston University recently (1 year ago) and currently work in Newport, RI as a mechanical engineer.

As of recently, I am having a kind of early mid life crisis where I am realizing that I don't want to be an engineer much longer.

What I do want to do is cook. I love cooking at home - as a 23 year old, you don't often find young grads cooking dinner for themselves every night, where as I love to do it. I don't cook very simple stuff either, and I am getting better and better.

My question is:

What is the best way to develop my skills and perhaps begin down a long cooking career path? I thought about just quitting all together and enrolling at a culinary school, but that seems a little bit unrealistic given my financial situation (lots of student loans from my engineering degree to pay off).

I was thinking of contacting some restaurants in the area and offering my services (albeit they are very limited) for minimum wage. This would give me some experience and I could learn on the fly as a part time job. I wouldn't be doing it for the money (I make a decent salary at work as it is), but for the experience. Does anyone have any experience with this? Perhaps some guidance?
Joined Jun 14, 2010
Working in a kitchen part time while you keep your "day job" is a good idea. That way if you don't actually like cooking for a living, you still have your engineering job. If you do enjoy it, you can keep your engineering job until you can pay off your college loans and then possibly get some culinary training.
Joined Jul 29, 2010

I'm in the exact same situation as you !

I'm 27 years old, I'm about to graduate my B.Sc in Electrical Eng. and like you - it is getting clearer to me

that i might have made the wrong decision.

i think that it's time i stop living my life according to my parents expectations and actually start living them.

it's not an easy decision for me, throwing 4 years of my life away and I'm still checking all of my options.

i think it would be a VERY good idea to start working as a cook,

as a student, i work part time as a cook at the local pub, and i can tell you that it's nothing like cooking at home.

pubs & small cafes - i think - are good places to start - as the menu is quite simple (most of the time)

and they usually don't mind hiring un-trained and inexperienced cooks,

give it 4 - 5 months to get the hang of it,

moving into more serious restaurants will probably mean - they asking you to work a full time job.

i am thinking about going to culinary school, mainly LCB in Sydney or London,

just trying to figure out how to get the funds for that, and how to let my parents know - i didn't go crazy on them :)

good luck!
Joined Jul 10, 2010
Wow! I think you are in a right decision. You can keep both your job if you want to. If you love what you are doing and happy with it, why not. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/chef.gif
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