So You Think You Can Cook?

Today’s guest post comes from another one of my FitBloggin’ roomies, Amanda! She’s here to talk to you about her recent decision to go to culinary school. Take it away Amanda!

Hi everyone! My name is Amanda and I blog at Eats, Love and Happiness. I’m so happy to be guest posting for Katie today! Katie was one of my FitBloggin’ roommates and I’m so lucky to have met her and become friends with her. I also can’t wait to brainstorm and bump ideas off of her once I start my own business in food/healthy eating.

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A few months ago, I made a huge decision. I decided to quit my full-time job to go to culinary school. To me, this is a little insane. Mind you, I’ve never worked in the food industry before. No waiting tables, no kitchen experience…just a pure passion for good food. Is that enough? I sure hope so. I always knew that I loved food but it took a long time for me to wrap my head around the idea that I could make a living while focusing on food. But how on earth did I ever decide that culinary school was the right direction for me? There are plenty of career paths and hobbies for people who love food as much as I do. Do you dream about working with food, experimenting with recipes and sharing dishes with not only your family and friends but (here’s the scary/fun part) the general public?

Here are a few ideas that I played around with:

Becoming a Nutritionist/RD (Like Katie!) – I thought about going this route for a number of reasons: it made the most sense to build off of my Bachelor’s Degree (Kinesiology – Sport Studies), it would give me legitimate credentials and I could get a Master’s Degree (at the time, the obvious next step in my education). I decided not to do this because it was very expensive, I realized going back to school didn’t have to mean getting a Masters and I wanted to work with food more than talk about food. Plus, anyone that knows me can vouch for me that Biology and Chemistry are not my fortes.

Getting Online Certifications: Believe it or not, there are online cooking classes. I think it’s a little bonkers, but they are out there. You can get certain certifications to help build your career (i.e. catering, teaching cooking classes, etc.). Maybe down the road I’ll consider some of these, but if I’m going to invest money into continuing my education, I want the hands on experience.

Moderate Culinary Program: L’Academie de Cuisine (the school I am attending) offers a program called “Continuing Your Education”. The program is a 6 month, once a week course that teaches you everything you learn in the professional full-time program, but in a much more condensed manner. It’s a middle-ground between recreational classes and the professional program. There are plenty of professional chefs who have been extremely successful (even some Top Chef participants!) with that program. I, however, am the type of person who needs to dive all the way in. Considering I have no food experience at all, the full-time program made much more sense for me.

In the end, I have decided to go to the full-time culinary arts program. I will be done by this time next year! I think it’s a little crazy but I couldn’t be more excited. If you think that you want a career in food, I highly recommend that you take a step back from your life and evaluate all of your options. Quitting your job and going back to school might not be realistic for you right now, but you can start planning. Ask yourself these questions:

  • What would your perfect life look like?
  • Do you want cooking to stay a hobby or something that you are willing to invest in to eventually make a profit?
  • Where do you see yourself in five years? (Do you see other big purchases that might get in the way of a new investment – a house, a pet, children, wedding?)
  • Do you want to work with food? Write about food? Teach people how to eat healthy? Where exactly do you see this passion taking you?

I asked myself a million questions, made a ton of pros and cons list and talked to other chefs, nutritionists, friends and family before making this decision. Maybe you will find a career in food or maybe you will keep it as a hobby. All I can say is that no one can control your future better than you. I always thought that my life would just happen the way it was suppose to, but I’ve learned that I’m wrong. I’ve learned how to take control and make my dreams happen.

If you want to read about my culinary school journey, I hope that you start reading my blog!

Thank you again Katie for asking me to post! I had so much fun and I hope you invite me back soon.

I sure will Amanda, thanks for taking the time to share your story with my readers!

If you wanted to work with food, what education route would you chose?

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