I have been lurking and posting for the past few days but thought I should get on the formal "welcome" board too.
Yesterday I received the very exciting news that I am going to be going to school starting September 20th! I am in the apprenticeship program and have just about completed all of my required hours. Now I just need to do my basic and advanced back-to-back and then they will hopefully let me write my red seal as soon as school is finished.....so I don't forget anything, you see. This has been a very exciting, long journey for me that has taught me more and more that I have finally made the right career choice...at 45.
My formal cooking experience began 3 years ago and my apprenticeship began last fall. Before that I had cooked for my family since I was 14, owned my own B&B for 5 years and cooked for numerous church fundraisers. I was very lucky to land with a teaching chef when I went to a small hotel after quitting a very discouraging career as a librarian/computer technician. He nurtured my interest in food and gave me many books to read (Kitchen Confidential, Inside the CIA, Heat, etc.) that only encouraged me more. I hated to leave that chef but the owners were insane...you know how it is. I landed a first cook position at one of the local ski clubs for the season and then on to a newly opened restaurant. I had dropped off my resume a couple of days before and called to check if chef had a chance to read it yet. He asked me to come in the next day for a working interview...I ended up doing the whole shift and was hired in less than an hour. I learned many things working with that chef even though I quit after 4 months. His teaching style and my learning style could never mesh but I learned a lot of things the hard way. In the meantime I met my current chef who runs a restaurant at a golf club as well as catering...his specialty is spit roasted pigs. He has been a fabulous encouragement as well. During the off season I again went to a ski club where I worked with another two chefs who also remain mentors to me. There is also a chef friend in Germany that I hope to get back to work in his kitchen for a couple of weeks...probably after I graduate. I have been very blessed to be walking this path with so much support.
My family has adjusted to my new lifestyle. They really grumbled at first about the long hours away from home but when I took a break to please them, they saw how unhappy I was out of the cooking world and encouraged me to go back. Now the school life with an hour's commute each way...living in one of the prominent snow belts of Ontario...will be another adjustment but one I am so happy to be making. I am sure I will find a friend to crash with when the weather is too bad to get home.
I am so pleased to have found this forum and the teachings from those who are so generous to share their vast experiences with us. Thank you,
die Hausfrau Monica