Im 36, posted here over the years, want to give it a shot again. Need feedback

Joined Feb 18, 2009
I have had a protracted college career studying art, then anthropology. I worked many restaraunt jobs in my 20s, mostly unsuccessfully, bot sometimes successfully. Basically I also developed schizophrenia. At first I didn't want to believe it and didn't accept it, i couldn't believe it was happening to me.

Also had disability income and a supportive nuclear family so it's arguable I didn't try as hard in the kitchens as I could have and besides I sort of thought I would go to gradschool and do field work in the Caribbean or west africa. So I never "commited" to cooking although I had some enjoyable experiences.

Now I am more certain that I don't want to continue down an academic path. I love reading anthro books, haitian, trinidadian, guyanese, Guatemalan novels... I like Carl jung and his buddies, German philosophy, and other stuff. I want to be able to read this stuff as my life progresses, maybe even blog about it as I think I am a better writer now then when I was a 23ya studio art student, getting high and listen ing to soca music and south african jazz and Haitian roots music.

But I would say my guts want to cook, my passion is cooking, my heart is into it.

I own 700 books, black atlantic studies mainly and ethnography classics. I'm the guy with 15 thick historical and theoretical books on African cinema. I African drum and play the congas, i had hopes of playing the drums in trinidad, cuba, or haiti, senegal, nigeria, or mali. One day I think.

But I looove hiro, the youtube sushi chef, and the youtube blog strictly dumpling which explores Asian street food.

I love Alton Brown and the nasty bits website of serious eats and others, the recipes connected to bourdains I believe it is the nasty bits or serious eats, you know? Ramen, cakes, deep fried chicken feet, bbq pig tails, deep fried pork feet, etc.

Strictly dumpling, anyone follow this guy, amazing dumplings from Asia and egg salad or wagyu beef sandwiches from japan.

I own senegalese, chinese, hakka, japanese, austrian, spanish, Mexican and south american, nigerian, mid east, rep of georgia, somalian, czech, Sri lankan, guyanese, trinidadian, French Caribbean cookbooks. And french, new orleans, greek, italian.

My guts are in it, and reading about it gets me fired up.

I used to work at a Chinese restaraunt, I'm gonna contact them to see if I can get good at the woks and the cleaver. I will try and work at a local french pastry shop.

I want to learn Viennese pastry, sushi, "secrets" of west african, mid east, brazilian, chinese, japanese, korean, for starters.

I am willing to work at the bottom, long hours, i just need some feedback.

I'm already crazy, I'm on medicine and doing better, I'm finally done with my anthro degree but will take graduate courses next semester to just see if I can get into gradschool, but I want to be done with academic work. I want to move around or work with my hands.

Cooking, for some reason, fascinates me. And if I could work in the Caribbean one day, well then I could still get involved with african ceremonial magic and spirituality, without being an anthropologist.
Joined Feb 18, 2009
I'm 36 and completed my bs in anthropology. But my attitude is shifting thanks to my Jungian analyst. I'm thinking of getting a technical job and postponing graduate school till I am in my forties. Cooking is out of the question but baking isnt, fish monger or meat cutter is a possibility. Trader Joe's or costco employee, nursery worker, cable or satellite tv guy, mail man, furniture mover, steam cleaner, rug installer, electrician, plummer, hvac dude. I get to still read books and African drum, i get to add French classes, kung fu, karate or judo finally. I don't have to be a promiscuous line cook. Hell, i don't have to be a promiscuous anything. I get to join the grownup club. Women will make love with me. I will have achieved MANHOOD. The mysteries of vodou. (Random sentence) I will be able to send money to my Nigerian and Haitian friends and start collecting African and Caribbean art. I may even learn the potters wheel. Sounds good right?
Joined Mar 1, 2017
Hey! Welcome back. Good to see you're doing well. :)

Quick and dirty..........given your situation, perhaps the food industry isn't the place for you. Many people who do not have your employment barriers often find working in this business too stressful and emotionally taxing.

If you are under the care and supervisions of a mental health professional, I would strongly encourage you to ask him//her what they think before you take any steps towards a job in a commercial kitchen.

I wish you well and the best of luck. :)


Staff member
Joined Oct 7, 2001
Welcome back. A couple of things; first I agree with sgsvirgil, from a mental health standpoint this might not be the right industry for you. Many, not all, but many kitchens are full of dysfunctional individuals and as such there is often a whole lot of "enabling" that goes on. The job can also be very stressful and the hours are nuts. Now, if you think you can handle that from a mental health standpoint then by all means consider going back in. Secondly, it sounds like you have quite a bit of schooling, and I am going to assume that you have racked up a decent amount of student loans. This job/career usually doesn't pay much, especially for cooks with minimal experience. Will you be able to cover your student loans and still be able to "live." Finally, I know that you said you have cooked before, so maybe you understand but for many people who have an academic interest in food and cooking, the reality of cooking in a restaurant just doesn't cut it. They are more interested in the theory and "culture" of cuisine than in the reality of preparing the same dishes day after day after day. If you can answer positively to these points then by all means go for it, but I would really give it a second though, and third thought before you jump back in.
Joined Feb 18, 2009
I'm talking with two local bakers and caterers today. Sorry for being awol.

Cooking these days a lot at home, trinidad indo carribean and Rastafarian stuff.

Ital stew, various Caribbean style steamed or sauteed veggies with or without saltfish. Strawberry or pineapple "chow", Haitian griot, maduros, tostones, geera shrimp, air fried bakes with coconut milk in batter, cassava pone, butternut squash, corn, butterbeans. Swiss chard, callaloo, collards etc
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Joined Feb 18, 2009
I would like to cook for bakers and caterers that are upscale and creative, world food, switching menu up every now and then. As long as I have a supportive work family. I want to work with my body and hands, get out of my head, not worry about slides, power points and research deadlines

I still love books but want to read them on my own time
Joined Feb 18, 2009
My mental illness, I hope, is manageable.

The plan is to go to hvacr school in the fall. My parents and psychologist won't support anything else...

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