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All About Me

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
OK,

I'm reading more posts and noticing that the most common response is, "Tell us about yourself." I launched my first post with a whole barrage of questions. Now I figure I'd better let you guys know a little bit more about me:

My name is Kent. I am 37 years old (I would call my dream of becoming a chef a mid-life crisis, but I've had about 3 of those already). I currently work as a writer for a national advertising agency where I create concepts for print, radio and TV commercials. I have been doing this on and off for about the last 10 - 12 years. I have left the ad business several times looking for something more "meaningful," but keep being lured back by the money. OK, call me a whore. It's OK. I've been feeling that way a lot lately.

I didn't start out in advertising. My first love was theatre. A received my Bachelors of Arts in Drama from The University of Texas at Austin in 1987. I wasn't an actor. My empahsis was in scenic design. But instead of pursuing theatre as a career, ended up landing my first job as an art director in Chicago for a large advertising agency called Leo Burnett (commonly known as the "critter agency"... think Pillsbury Dough Boy, Jolly Green Giant, Morris the Cat, Charlie Tuna Fish, Keebler Elves, etc). After about 4 years of that nonsense (It pays well, it can be fun, but at it's core advertising is a SOULESS business), I decided to go back to U.T. to get my Masters degree in Drama Education. This time my focus was on directin with the intention of becoming a high school drama teacher. One thing is for sure, no matter how hard working in advertising or cooking for a living may be, they're not as bad as trying to maintain order among 300 adolescents. I knew teaching wasn't going to work before I even got started. Student teaching was more than enough. I finished my Masters Degree (barely) and went back to work in advertising. Can you say, RENT? But this time I changed to the writing side of things, and went to work for a smaller ad agency in Houston. Cut to three years later. There I was, once again dissillusioned, still looking for something more meaningful than writing snappy radio spots for KFC (I don't even LIKE KFC!...OK, maybe on the Fourth of July, but EVERYTHING tastes better outside on a blanket.) So, this time I decide to leave advertising and get my National Certification In Therapeutic Massage and Body Work. Being a massage therapist was cool for awhile. It felt good helping people. It had a strong spritual component that could be really powerful at times. But I didn't find it held as much creativity as I'd hoped. And I REALLY hated being my own boss. Plus, I lived 2000 miles from my home state of Texas, was way out of my comfort zone, missed my family and friends terribly (AND crashed into a massive, deep dark depression...but that's a whole 'nother story). So...guess what? You got it. Back to advertising... for the THIRD time.

So here I am. This time in Austin. Taking home a big fat paycheck. Working for a really great agency. Doing the most creative advertising work I've ever done. And you know what? It's STILL a souless business.

There has got to be something better than this. But even if there isn't, I'm not ready to resign myself to a spending the rest of my earning a paycheck and taking vacations to help me forget about what I do for a living the rest of the year. I've got to find something that lets me be an artist AND give something to people that makes a difference and brings more JOY into the world. Nothing against my current employer, they're great, but coming up with clever slogans and snappy jingles does NOT a full life make. I need something with more PASSION in it. I'm still not willing to go back into theatre. It's just too flakey of a lifestyle. And the only other thing I've felt as much passion for is cooking. Voila!

I only arrived at this conclusion about a week ago (Don't tell my employer, I still need to earn my tuition money!). But the possibilities of becoming a chef seems to feel right inside my heart. I LOVE to cook. Nothing pleases me more than spending the ENTIRE day in the grocery store and kitchen, shopping and preparing a well thought out, carefully executed dinner. Putting on a dinner is really very similar to producing theatre. You have your stage (the table). You have your script (the menu) You have all the elements that make up a production (food, recipies, appliances, etc). You rehearse and polish the production (improvising on recipies, cooking and altering as necessary), and finally you have your performance (the meal of course). It all has to be designed, balanced and orchestrated. But unlike the theatre where you manipulate sight and sound to achieve a desired effect, cooking adds the powerfully primal sense of taste. And if done properly, both leave your audience with a profound sense of satisfaction.

In addition, I have a special interest in healthy gourmet cooking. Around the time I turned 31, I realized I'd never just be able to eat "what I wanted" again without my waistline suffering the consequences. I then began to seriously education myself on both diet and exercise. What I found is that healthy cooking can be just as fun and enjoyable as the more fattening variety. I love the challenge of putting something on the table that is delicious, beautiful, and also extremely good for you. The ultimate is to serve something that's so good, no one would even think that that you were trying to make it healthy. Plus, it's all the more satisfying when you realize you're fuelying your body properly. And especially when your body rewards you staying lean and healthy (not to mention looking a WHOLE lot better in a swim suit).

So, here I am now.

Next steps? Write ads a while longer. Save a bit more money. After that? Cooking school somewhere, somehow (see my last post...and feel free to jump right in with advice). After that? Who knows. I'd like to stay here in Austin (I think my significant other would agree). But I'm also willing to spend a few years away, maybe head up to CIA if it's REALLY worth it. Eventually I'd like to work at a first-class Health Spa or maybe become a Personal Chef, but I'm not ruling out the restaurant business (as long as I'm NOT the owner). I want to be a chef, an artist, a problem solver, a motivator, a dreamer – but most importantly a person who feels good about the contribution he's made in the world when he comes home at the end of the day.

That's me, in a nutshell.

:chef:
Kent
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Kent
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post #2 of 16
Thanks for the well-rounded bio, Kent. I have a relative who was with J Walter Thompson, and my late father did advertising art in the 40s and 50s, so I have an inkling of the angst you're experiencing. Being in my 27th year of teaching, most of it with adolescents, I give you lots of credit for knowing yourself and not trapping yourself in a career that just wasn't for you. That takes courage!

Keep your eye on the prize, though, and before you know it, you'll achieve your dream.
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post #3 of 16
Live2cook, It's nice to know more about you. I've heard from many people in advertising, how unsatisfying it can be, in spite of the money. It sounds like you have a good plan in place, and I hope you eventually find cooking to be a soulful career, and a way to tap into your creative energy.
post #4 of 16

Hi

Hi Live2Cook. You sure did give quite the bio! You sound like a nice person - and yours was the first post I read, too! (newbie here...)
Good luck with whatever you decide to do!
post #5 of 16
Hi, and welcome!

Your history sounds like my hubbie's! He graduated ECC with a theatre major, then went into radio, first as a dj and then as a writer/producer - now is working at ABC mothership as editor of a comedy/news/entertainment service. He's just as dissatisfied as you are - so I hear what you're saying about it being a 'soulless' profession!

Good luck with pursuing your dreams - and by the way, what's this about a 37 year old mid-life crisis - you're still a baby in my book!!!
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post #6 of 16
Thread Starter 

Thanks...

Thanks to everyone who's replied so far, especially Marmalady...calling me a baby just MADE my day. Who would have thought. I used to be the guy who couldn't WAIT to grow up.:bounce:
Kent
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Kent
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post #7 of 16
Yeah, when you said 37, and then midlife, I began rethinking how I view myself at 35. I don't feel even close to midlife!!:D (Maybe I should?);)
post #8 of 16
Kent,
DON'T QUIT YOUR DAY JOB, just yet. You know the grass is always greener on the otherside. You need more time reading all the rants of the current chefs here on line. There are many soulless jobs in this industry with the invention of bonus incentives.
Personal Chefing, you will be the owner. A chef usually has a lot of the administrative duties now a days. If you are adamant about not being an owner or being the guy in charge I think you might find your creatitivity capped a little.
My wife and I sit on the board of The Ryan Foundation for MPS kids and we will be in Austin for our annual Golf/Spa Weekend. May 17,18,19. Barton Creek. Come golf/spa. I give cooking classes along with some Chef friends from Dallas. We might be able to enlighten you a little about the business. After a few, you might hear some war stories, all the time looking through the red in our eyes and knowing that there is not one of us who would want to be doing anything different.
Jeff
FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
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FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
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post #9 of 16

37, huh?

You're just a baby yet..lol. Actually, I'm not that far off, but I'm over 40 and still not over the shock of turning 40! I think I know why some women lie - they truly can't face the truth!
(Just teasing...don't pick on me, okay?)
post #10 of 16
40 is nothing, Starlite - wait til you hit the big 5-0!:eek:
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post #11 of 16
Kent
I wouldn't miss that if I were you, althought Panini cakes promised me to make my birthday cake, a pink cadillac... Remember seniore Panini??? :cool:
Ok I can move the date of my birthday, I guess... :D
"Muabet de Turko,kama de Grego i komer de Djidio", old sefardic proverb ( Three things worth in life: the gossip of the Turk , the bed of the Greek and the food of the Jew)
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"Muabet de Turko,kama de Grego i komer de Djidio", old sefardic proverb ( Three things worth in life: the gossip of the Turk , the bed of the Greek and the food of the Jew)
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post #12 of 16
I will bring the cake with me in the summer. Do you want that to be a convertible? I can just imagine customs now.
FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
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FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
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post #13 of 16
Computers, the field in which I work, have lots and lots of personality but got no soul.

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
 
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Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
 
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post #14 of 16
Lol...I guess every decade has it's own shock value, huh! And as fast as time is going, I'll be sitting here saying "Now I'm 50????" in no time as well! :o But what can one do, huh!?!:confused:
post #15 of 16
Dear Live2Cook

If you don't mind some advice from an Aggie, follow your dreams. You can probably use your experience to market yourself in the future. Have you ever looked into food styling? Just brainstorming, but maybe you can pull all your talents together without changing all together.

Whoop!
Ciao!

"I Am Not Afraid... I Was Born To Do This." Joan of Arc
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Ciao!

"I Am Not Afraid... I Was Born To Do This." Joan of Arc
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post #16 of 16

welcomed

Your bio was very intriguing, knowing what you want in life is something many people neglect and put on the back burner, even at the age of 35, trying to pursue your dream is ultimately your goal.
I'm 18 and have wanted to be a chef for many years now. I have recently moved to Montreal to pursue my dream. I'm studying to become a chef. What helpful hints can i get from a wiser perspective..?
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