I have been somewhat of a lurker of ChefTalk for quite a while, and I have no idea why it is taking me until right now to actually create an account and get involved with the forums.
I am 26 years old and have a small amount of professional culinary experience, but a life long passion for food and the industry. For the most part I have independently worked from the age of 17. After most of my endeavors dried up, I decided that it was time to focus on the culinary world. After making the (what seems like classic) debate on culinary school vs. work experience, I was offered a pantry position at a very well received restaurant in the area. My stint there lasted nearly 7 months, during which I went nearly flat broke. I grew up in a very lower-middle class upbringing, and at this current point in my life was very uncomfortable with the lack of security. I quit, taking a position outside of the culinary field that paid much much more. It didn't take me very long to regret the decision. At the end of last year I was asked to host a bridal shower, including a cook along demo with 20+ influential wine-toting women. It went incredibly well (I couldn't believe it), I met a lot of very amazing contacts and have been dabbling in and out of the private chef business.
At the current time, I have been in the works of creating a drop-off and prepared food catering business as well as pursuing other private events.
I have a lot to learn in the business, but I know that my true passion lies in this industry. I am hoping to use ChefTalk as a tool to correspond with professionals, find useful information that is difficult to acquire elsewhere, and hopefully (in time) pass along information that I have also gathered and help the community.
I look forward to meeting some of you on the boards!