I'm so glad to have found this forum! I actually just did a google search regarding a menu I'm trying to get together and found a three year old thread about a similar menu with some great suggestions!
I started working in restaurants at 14 as a bus boy, and did a lot of prep in the kitchen. It was always just a job. I was in middle school, but now I wish I'd spent more time in the kitchen, going in early and leaving late to learn as much as I could about everything. It was jointly owned by an Italian family and a Greek family. Great little local place. Then I started waiting tables at another place in Atlanta. The owner had worked for (who is probably) the best chefs in Atlanta for a number of years and I got great training there.
Anyway, I was never a line cook or anything, but know my way around the kitchen, mostly thanks to Mom and constantly entertaining for up to 100 people at home. I love to cook, and have traveled all over the world, mostly eating my way through countries. No formal training, but I do a lot of study on my own.
I currently live in Taiwan, in an apartment with two gas burners and no oven or dishwasher, which is pretty standard for here. I've managed to make great food with a limited kitchen and especially limited ingredients here. There's a lot I can't get, but would love to chat with folks and get some new ideas.
Working on a big menu for some friends who are moving away in a few weeks, so I'm hoping to get some input on that as well.