i've been a mixologist/bartender for many years. now that i have time i'd like to get into cooking! would you advise and recommend me to start with pastries first or just go straight to normal dishes??
Start with knife technique and general prep -- including portioning protein. Then hot pan and basic saucing. Chances are that a huge percentage of what you serve will involve both knife prep and a pan. In other words, learn the basics of cooking before you get into specialization.
However, if you have a special interest in baking by all means scratch the itch. You don't need to know how to make a mignonette to bake a loaf of pumpernickel.