WanaBe a ChefA difficult career change

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WebFoodPros.com: WanaBe a Chef: A difficult career change
By Marka (Marka) on Tuesday, August 28, 2001 - 11:39 am: Edit


I am yet another person who is considering a career change. I love to cook and I love the pleasure it brings to the people I cook for. I have no food service experience whatsoever, BUT I know professional cooking is different to what I do at home (it takes me 2 hours to make the same dish for 4 people). I've read "The Making of a Chef", "The Soul of a Chef", and "Kitchen Confidential". I have "Becoming a Chef" on order at Amazon. I'm also about to take a career choice test at the Rockport Institute to see if the profession suits my character. I also love photography, so a food stylist/photographer could be another career choice.

Now for the difficulty: I am 37 years old, working in high tech. BUT I am working in Israel and can't realisitcally leave until this time next year (due to relocation and contractual issues and expenses). When I leave here, my company will relocate me back to USA or Europe (I'm English). However, if I quit and go to school having relocated and find it's not for me, it'll be exceedingly expensive.

I know everyone recommends that getting experience first is the best, but it's not feasible for me. I don't speak Hebrew, so I'm little use to a kitchen if I can't understand the language and have no experience.

I'm considering the Grand Diploma at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris or London. It's supposedly just over 6 months intensive and I don't know if I want to do cuisine or patisserie yet (I love both).

So, I figure my 2 choices are: either go for it, or get your feet wet first.

The latter is more sensible and may allow me to keep my job if I don't like it. My plan is this: ask my boss for a 10 week sabbatical/unpaid leave, and do the basic cuisine course at Le Cordon Bleu. This will cost me about $5k plus accommodation loss of 3 months pay ($30k/$15k after tax). However, I will have well paid job to come back to; and I may be able to do some work for my company while I'm studying (to keep some money coming in); and I can decide that if I do really go for it whether to get experience (at least I'll have the basic course under my belt) or go to school and finish of the diploma.

Can anyone give me any advice on my plan?
Doesn't an intensive course at a good school make sense at my age?
How soon into my course would it be before I could get a job as a line/prep cook?
What will a just out of Cordon Bleu scholl guy make?
Do the ktichen workers (cooks) get a share of tips 9told you I had no experience!)?

I'll be taking a cut in salary of about $50k a year, so it's a big decision, but I can't continue to do something I no longer enjoy.

How frequent is it that Chef's come to hate their work as much as I hate mine tight now?

Thanks in advance


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