i've been a mixologist/bartender for many years. now that i have time i'd like to get into cooking! would you advise and recommend me to start with pastries first or just go straight to normal dishes??
pastry before entrees/regular cooking?
Start with knife technique and general prep -- including portioning protein. Then hot pan and basic saucing. Chances are that a huge percentage of what you serve will involve both knife prep and a pan. In other words, learn the basics of cooking before you get into specialization.
However, if you have a special interest in baking by all means scratch the itch. You don't need to know how to make a mignonette to bake a loaf of pumpernickel.