I just signed up and thought I'd post a quick "Howdy".
I have been in the industry my entire life, my first job (age 12) was a dish jockey in small hippy café. It was a terrible job with a horrible boss but those line cooks with their sharp knives and tattoos were just so damn cool! I jumped around prepping and line cooking (always looking for the next best thing) until at 17 I had the opportunity to intern in Italy. I spent the better part of a year over in Assisi cooking with some really great Chefs. When I returned to the US I put myself through school (non related degree) working in kitchens. When I graduated and couldn't find work in my field....back to the kitchen I went!
At 28, I managed to buy a small (40 seats) dinner house in the Pacific NW where I am now the Chef/owner. I'm 34 years old and I play with my food.