Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Cooking Up A Plan

So now is the confusing process of deciding what I want to do with my life next. No, not what I want to be when I grow up? I’m never going to do that. I just want to figure out what I want to do with this current phase of my life.

I’m researching culinary options at the moment. It’s probably my greatest love with arts and crafts following right on its heels. There’s no reason why I can’t do both though one will have to be the bread and butter and the other more a hobby. I’ve received so much negative feedback from family and friends about becoming a chef but with the culinary arts I don’t have to be limited to working in a restaurant. I think that’s what everyone who told me I shouldn’t go into that field years ago only saw. There are so many other options! Cookbook editor or author, recipe tester, recipe or product developer, catering, sommelier, cooking teacher, private chef, personal chef, etc…

I’ve loved to cook since I was a little girl; pulling out the various kitchen drawers in order to make myself a little step ladder to get up into the spice cabinet. For what you ask? Why to get the container of parsley to sprinkle on my buttered toast. During the entire process I would do my best to imitate the voice of my hero Julia Child; a budding young gourmet was I at age 6. As I got older and my grandmother allowed me to cook more food on my own, I was again the little chef as I doctored my Campbell’s soup or worked on my perfected recipe for blueberry muffins (they where from a box but still) when visiting my great grandmother.
Once I was into my teenage years, I was cooking all the time and even considered cooking school then but was “convinced” out of it. I loved going to restaurants and then go home and try to figure out how the meal I had was made. Cookbooks and cooking magazines could be found all over my room along side magazines with pictures of the members from Duran Duran or John Stamos in them.
My grandmother and great-grandmother were both excellent scratch cooks and I know it was their influence on me that made me love cooking so much. The best yeast rolls in the world, so soft and yeasty and dripping in butter. Beef stews that made every nook and cranny in the house smell divine. Macaroni and cheese to make a grown person weep for joy! And one of these blasted days I’m going to figure out how to make fried chicken like they did! For now I have to be content buying it already made but it’s just not the same.

Through high school and college I watched my friends go to cooking school, even helped several of them with their projects. Tried to help my brother look into pastry school (his talent among others is baking) though he decided to go into computers instead. THEN, once I realized that computers weren’t of any interest to me did I finally look at cooking and say, “Hey stupid! Why not look into cooking school yourself? And I did but for one reason or another it didn’t work out. Bills to pay, no night courses at the school I wanted to go to (they’d canceled that track the year before I decided I wanted to go to school again), immaturity on my part, and on and on.

Jump to the present day. I’m looking at two schools at the moment, L’Academie de Cuisine and the Baltimore International College (BIC). L’Academie is my first choice but it’s terribly expensive and getting more so every year. The curriculum is intense but exactly what I’d want to stay committed and motivated. Right before I started working where I am now (a job I took because I needed something, anything at the time) I took a tour of the school and got to sit in for lunch with some of the students. They made me lunch which was part of their course work and chatted with me about themselves, their goals, and of course the school. I was giddy with joy when I left but rather than start the application process I got a job where I am now. Ugh! I know nothing about BIC though the head chef at the Contemporary Resort at Walt Disney World told me he did have someone under him who came from that school. I’m still investigating but it’s definitely on the table.

So here I sit, trying to figure out which I should attend, when I can afford to attend, and what should my focus be on. That last one will probably change as I learn more and more about my options.

I hope to say one day soon that I’ve been accepted to one of these schools and can then report on my experience as I go through it. Here’s crossing fingers!


Blogger Judith said...

It's never too late to make a major change! I have a Sister-in-law who went to Med School at 40 and at at 55 I changed from Corporate Materials Manager to Bead Designer. It's rough, time (and $) intensive, but so satisfying to be working at something you like doing. I tell people that my business IS my fun. Go do the research and do something, even if it's only part-way there.

11/21/2007 9:29 AM  

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