Well, I'm sorry I've been out of touch - I had my first exam yesterday in Nutrition class (did well, I think!), My sister's baby shower is this weekend, lots of family and friends in town... therefore lots of cleaning and "getting ready." I almost considered not going to my cooking class tonight. Almost. And once I was there I thought man, this could've been one of the most perfect nights to skip class - we were told we were going to be making brown stock (been there, done that). That's it. But that wasn't it at all. While the stock was bubbling...we got to hear about our Chef/professor's life!
Chef D has had an interesting career - starting in college when she was getting her degree to teach Home Ec (she knew she wanted to teach since she was a little girl) she babysat for spending money. The parents of the kids she watched asked her to start cooking for the family each night. Here she was a Jewish 20 year old from NY who was asked by her wealthy Mexican employers to cook them dinners every night (and Mexican dinners at that). Of course she said yes, but she had a lot to learn. And they let her practice and learn on the job, perfecting and learning about items beyond tacos (which until then she had only had at Taco Bell).
Fast forward to graduation, she got her degree and as luck would have it she also got a job pretty quickly teaching Home Ec at the high school level. All was well and good until the economy began to turn (sound familiar?) and she was handed a pink slip. While waiting in line at unemployment (pre-online/mail-based unemployment filing) she began thinking about other possible jobs she could do. She did some research (in the want ads - again, no internet) and found that there was an agency hiring private chefs for wealthy Beverly Hills clients. Without giving too much away, let's just say she cooked for very wealthy residents of LA who loved her and her food. She cooked for families, she cooked for the staff of families, she cooked for small and large parties. She did this until she could get another teaching job then realized she could do both at once and make a ton of money! So she did.
Since the earlier years, she has continued doing what she enjoys: a full time teaching gig (at both the high school and college level) along with running a part time catering business. She travels all over the world in her free time to taste food from every culture, she spends as much time in France and Napa taking classes and as I can tell from attending her class, truly enjoys what she does and wants everyone in her class to love this as much as she does.
Since my layoff I have had to spend a lot of time soul searching to figure out what was next for me. For some people, choosing a career (or careers) is easy - it could start for someone as a 6 year old playing "teacher" in a friend’s house, or at age 11 singing in to a toothbrush in front of a mirror. For others of us, and I would say for the majority of us, it is an evolving process.
Over my 36 years I have wanted to be a teacher, a veterinarian, a physical therapist, a personal assistant, a dog masseuse, a dog trainer, a therapist, and probably others that I don't even remember. But right now I want to be a chef. I will be a chef. I am inspired by my professor and by chefs on tv, and by one of the students who showed us his carving technique and by anyone else following their dreams.
It is so important to follow your dreams. If you are in a job you don't like anymore, take the time to explore other options. You don't have to be unhappy. It will take a lot of time, a lot of money and some soul searching but it is NEVER too late.
Have you ever changed your career (and surprised everyone around you)? Or were you the little girl or boy singing into your toothbrush? Share your story - I'd love to hear it!
Chow for now! :)