I've been watching Food Network. How do I win Chopped? Just kidding. LOL I'm 42 and considering culinary school and a possible career change. I've owned my own business (a very small IT consulting company) for the last 13 years, and might be able to count on this as a potential source of residual income down the road. I looked at Le Cordon Bleu, however, it kind of feels like a franchise. I'm seriously considering CIA, and there's also Johnson & Wales in Denver (I live in Colorado right now). I'm sure there are plenty of other schools as well. My biggest problem is I don't know what I want to be when I grow up, LOL. I just know that I love to cook. I want to be able to walk into a kitchen, see what's there and make something incredible. I think this will take three things: 1. Natural talent, 2. Education, 3. Experience. I believe I have natural talent - I've always been able to just "throw something together" and make something pretty good. Assuming the financial part can work out, the plan that is forming in my head is something like this: 1. Map out a "wish list" plan (e.g. "I'll enroll at CIA in Fall of 2014. To pay for that, I'll do x and y". etc.) 2. Get a job in the kitchen at a restaurant where I like the food. Doesn't have to be fancy. That's the big plan so far. I figure I have to have some sort of long-term goal, so step 1 gives me something to work towards. Step 2 gives me some real-world experience (which CIA and some other schools require) and it also shows me whether or not I really want to do this. I think it will also help me determine what I would and would not want to do in a kitchen. What other things can I think about now? What other steps should I consider? Would a degree from CIA, LCB or J&W (or wherever) really help? CIA seems to be top-notch. Will training there really make a difference (I know they have externships, etc.)? Any advice you could give would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!!