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Another career change... and needing help

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

Chefs, I need your help,

 

I've started cooking at home when I was finishing college. Back then it was all about having you belly stuffed, so you could drink more and not get too drunk, and since no one cared for making the food, I stepped up to the job. I began liking it, though, and things started to become a bit more serious: I bought books, watched tv shows, researched on the internet... Nowadays, more than 10 years later, I still cook for friends, I'm still passionate about food and cooking, and sadly, still not working with it.

So, my first question was if I am too old to start cooking professionally (I'm 33 now), but I read some threads in this forum, like "Am I too old?" and "How old is too old?", and felt encouraged.

My second question now is: How do I do this? I'm living in Belgium now, with a scholarship for my PhD in literature, and so far I could only find two kinds of courses here: one day home cooking courses, that teach you a menu a day, and culinary schools, that take only kids up to 21yo. The first doesn't suit me, and the second doesn't accept me. What should I do?

Please, I feel this is my greatest opportunity to become a chef, and I don't want to miss it (again). Help me.

post #2 of 6

I don't think you are too old at all but.... Have you worked in the business at all? If you have not then please go get a job and feel the impact this career has on your family, friends, kids etc. Work in a small restaurant and you can probably move up pretty quickly and then after a year see if it is really what you want.

Thanks,

Nicko 
ChefTalk.com Founder
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
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Thanks,

Nicko 
ChefTalk.com Founder
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
Bacon (I made)
(26 photos)
Reply
post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the answer. No, I have never worked with food before, and yes, that would be interesting to get a job in a small restaurant first, ans see how things develop. The problem is, even though I've been cooking at home for a long time, I have no professional training. Would anyone hire an amateur cook? I was thinking of studying first, but I can't seem to find a cokking school here in Belgium...
 

post #4 of 6

Julio, I'm in Australia and in a similar situation to you. I'm 20, I originally was completing an undergraduate degree in music but I spent all of my spare time reading books, watching cooking shows and researching on the internet. It seems difficult in Belgium, where I am it's not that hard (you can do a culinary course at any age, you can also do it part time, full time and even do the theoretical subjects through correspondence and we need more chefs in this country)... I take it that you are doing your PhD part time (my professor said that most people do, but I don't know much I'm only doing my bachelors ;)? Is it possible to get an apprenticeship in Belgium or even work as a kitchen hand and work your way up? How does the scholarship work (do you have to finish it within a certain amount of years?) All the best with your PhD, just out of curiosity what is your thesis on? All the best! 

post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 

Hi Tranquillo,

 

It wouldn't be a bad idea to go to a cooking school in Australia, but for me now it's just a dream. I live here in Belgium with my scholarship (and it's already hard enought to support me and my girlfriend with it!). First of all I'd need to find a job to pay not only my studies, but also the cost of living there. But anyway, like I said, it's nice to dream about it. I think for me now, the only way in this apprenticeship thing. I'm already looking for something, while managing my PhD and reading cook books.

Speaking of which, my PhD is in literature. I've concluded masters is communication in Brazil, and about a year later, I was invited to come here. It's been almost two years now, and I have a total of four to finish it. I don't have classes, but I have an office I can go whenever I feel like, and besides the thesis, I have to publish some papers, and go to conferences. How would you classify that? I take it as a full time job, also because any other income I get from other works would automatically cancel my scholarship. So, I'll have to finish it first, or drop it definitely before stepping into the kitchen. Let's see what happens.

Thanks for your answer, and good luck to us!
 

post #6 of 6

Keep looking for cooking classes or maybe join a club. Connect with other Chowhounds via social media or other web sites from your area. Look for a chapter of a Chefs Associon or world cooks congress or even try connectiong with the 33 Masters of Belgium for local leads.

Stay the course, finish your PhD and what ever you do don't screw up a scholorship over cooking.

Best of luck.

 

Dave

I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
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I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
Reply
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