Former Army cook, AND former Navy cook, FINALLY got a job cooking at a BBQ restaurant/catering co. near me in northwestern NJ.
I don't know what to call it... never heard of a "Professional Barbecue Chef," (At least not in some way that was incredibly pretentious and designed to sell books and overpriced grilling equipment,) so I usually just say, when asked, "Oh... I'm a cook!" and I say it proudly and happily. I get paid reasonably good money to do something I love, and I look forward to going to work most days.
I went in the Navy right out of High School, and during my rotation in the galley (kitchen) fell in love with it. I later switched to the Army, ironically so I could spend more time with my kids. But then there was the Gulf War, the Balkans, Somalia, etc...
I was injured while serving as a member of a convoy team in Iraq, in 2005, where I got put on a convoy team because folks like cooks, fuel handlers, supply specialists, and other "support" roles have found that in Iraq their jobs have been farmed out to civillian contractors, leaving us to other duties. In my case, I was on a convoy team that ran at least three missions a week through the heart of the "Sunni Triangle." I got blown up on Easter, '05, and sustained some spinal injuries which worsened over time, ending my military career.
I spend my days making ribs and brisket and hush puppies and the like, and love every minute. And, nobody has tried to shoot me on my way to work lately. I guess I'm adjusting. LOL
Got two kids, grown, who lived with me, and am getting married in January.
Great to be here... I'm really happy I stumbled onto this site!