I'm 32 years old, male, and I live in Sweden. A little over ten years ago I decided I was going to be an engineer, so I went to the university to study product design. After a couple of years I found out it wasn't for me, and I dropped out. I had no idea what to do with my life, so I worked a whole bunch of menial, boring jobs. Cooking and food had always been something I was interested in, and when I wasn't cooking I was watching tv shows about cooking, reading books about cooking, or making my own recipes to try out later. So a couple of years ago I decided to make the transition to work in the food industry. Well, it turned out to be harder than I thought, but I finally found a way into a culinary school. By NO means a prestigious one, but it will give me my certificate, which is really the only reason I decided to go to school; I don't know what it's like elsewhere, but in Sweden it's impossible to get a job working in food unless you have a diploma or know someone in the biz. So that's where I am today. I'm two months into my 12 month program, and loving every second of it. I have a real passion for food, and I think it translates into my work. I work very hard in the kitchen, and pretty fast. I don't mind doing even the most menial task, and I approach peeling and cutting a potato with the same seriousness that I would if I were to french a rack of lamb. I may not take most things seriously, but when it comes to cooking my work ethic is second to none. I have over ten years of experience in serious amateur cooking, and a pretty good palate, and I would say that I am rather good with flavor profiles. My knife skills are decent but definitely need improvement. I am constantly pushing the teachers to not just say that the food I make is good, but tell me how it could be better. I'm there to learn as much as I can, and I think they could be a lot more critical. That being said, after two months in school they seem to understand that I know my way around a kitchen, and I've found that students that have been there for seven or eight months are asking me for advice on flavor or cooking techniques just as much as they are asking the teachers. I also seem to end up taking - or being given - the leading role every time we cook in groups. So, while realizing that I have a LOT to learn, I am confident in my abilities and know that I can hold my own against any amateur cook. Pardon my long-winded introduction, but I wanted you to have a pretty good picture of who I am and what my cooking experience is. I know that 32 is pretty old to be starting out in the food business, but I am hoping that my passion, knowledge and work ethic will open some doors for me, and that's why I'm posting here. How important are these factors, when you're deciding who to hire?