Figure Out What's Next

Culinary School By the Numbers

back to school career change john stephano Jun 01, 2009
culinary school

by John Stephano

photo via pixabay

Going back to culinary school is hard in so many ways...

But there are lots of reasons to stick with it.

1 — Intensely intimidating chef
3 — Brutally long weeks for every new class
5 — As in a.m., two clanging alarm clocks plus an annoying cell phone alarm
6 — Hours standing in the classroom every day
6 to 8 — Hours after class every day completing research and study in the library
10 — Years since I was last in a classroom
20 — Years older I am than the average age of my fellow students

Are these the reasons that I left the investment business? Will these statements end like the television commercial with the word “priceless,” or rather with, “What did I get myself into?”

Like anyone starting a new career, I have found there are great challenges that make us question our decision to dive into a new reality. I have struggled deep within my gut every time one of those numbers enters my thinking space.

“This is crazy” or “What are you doing John?” — these are the questions I often find myself worrying over.

But then I remember the advice a special person once gave to me. “Think back to when you first thought of this passion, this new career.” For me it was when I was a little boy that I dreamed of the culinary world. “Sit with that boy and just be there for a while,” my friend said. I know it sounds hokey and maybe it is, but for me it clears my head just enough so I can get back to the numbers I love and the numbers that I am newly learning all the time now.

8 — Types of premium chocolate that I got to eat and talk about in class the other day 
15 — Professional relationships I’ve already developed
20 — Different species of fish that I’ve touched, fabricated and cooked 
45 — Different professional kitchens that I get to play and experiment in
8,000 to 10,000 — Taste buds that I learned we each have and can’t wait to use

And then there’s this one:

20 — Average age of my fellow students who inspire me every day to reach deeper and make this dream come true.


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