Viable Direction

Joined Mar 24, 2016
Hello everyone. I just stumbled across this site very informative community and thought this would a great place for a question that I've been looking for guidance on.

I'm currently in the military and have about a year left. I'm 30 years old and work in cyber security right now. However, I have always wanted to cook. Nothing in the world gives me a better feeling than the satisfaction of creating in the kitchen and seeing someone's face when they taste my food.

I have been in touch with the CIA (San Antonio) and am super lucky because if I decide to attend it will all be free, so debt isn't something I have to worry about.

But my question is more life oriented. I now have a wife and one child (3yrs). Is pursing this career path viable for taking care of my family? I'm sorry, I know that's a weird question.

Most of what I read is people starting much younger with no ties. I have no qualms or delusions about working hard and long hours (I am in the military after all). My only concern is completing the school, and getting job where I get paid enough to comfortably care for my family. Any advice/guidance anyone can give would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
Joined Jan 3, 2005
It's not a weird question, but a great one to ask. I started cooking after 30, and have done well. A lot will depend on what path you want to take. Honestly, I see a lot of single or childless chefs around me and think this industry has a ways to go to improve work culture.
There are kitchen jobs with decent hours, but you will need to search. Many restaurant kitchens expect long hours and flexible schedules.
Joined Oct 31, 2012
You are probably already doing this but my first thought is that you should be including your wife in any thinking you do about what direction you take. Lack of time with family is a common issue with cooking. Your family now comes first. So your question is not weird but the exact one you should be asking. And keep asking it as the years go by. 

    If you can go to school for free, by all means do so. Experience will still be necessary but a degree with no debt is a fantastic opportunity. So no matter what you do later, I'd go to school. 

     Between now and graduation keep your eyes and ears open for the various opportunities and the people you will meet. Food service offers many options for work. Restaurants naturally come to mind first but these days many grocery stores have food production. Catering is another area. Campus foodservice, nursing homes/assisted living facilities, hospitals and corporate parks, wherever there are enough people to create a need for food production. Once you have some experience you may decide that management is the direction you want to go. 

    In addition to any help you may receive here, talk to foodservice people in your area to gain more information. You won't have the pressure of an interview but you may come across opportunities you hadn't considered. And someone you talk to may decide you are the kind of person they are looking for and offer you a job. 
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