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post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

Hey everyone. I'm a 30ish woman living in Texas. I am an at home cook who cooked for her family from ages 8-18.  I took a LONG break and just got back in the kitchen this past year.  Part of that decision was because I knew I could eat better at home and horribly missed cooking and part of that decision was somewhat shaped by the fact my boyfriend is a chef.


I am a huge career cross-road in my life. Currently I am working in the creative field which pays marginally but I truly love it.  However, I have started thinking about getting into the culinary field and I'm trying to really think about what I could do.  I have done public relations, writing/reviews, photography and marketing professionally and I think this is the right route in this industry that I should go. But, more and more I find myself dreaming of (and doing) cooking and working in a kitchen in a BOH capacity.  I have zero restaurant experience at this point in my life.


I had an opportunity to stage at a very good restaurant near where I live and my other job wouldn't allow me any time off due to the holidays.  Now that 2014 is here, I am going to keep my eyes open for other stage opportunities. I know I am not nearly ready to cook in a fine dining restaurant, but I think I could hold my own doing prep.  But, for all I know, I might absolutely hate it too. Maybe I just want to be in the kitchen for the wrong reasons. 


To sum it up, I'm pretty much scared to take the first step and I don't want to talk to my BF about it (yet) because I know if I do, he will tell his chef friends to get me a job; I'd rather set up my own stages and get into the industry on my own.


In the meantime, always happy to cook at home! And lucky that when I don't want to cook, I have a BF that might :)

Edited by JTX3 - 12/28/13 at 6:23pm
post #2 of 13

I think cooking is something in the blood. 

One of my favorite chefs, and icon here in my country did veterinary college in the U.S. when she started living alone and had to cook for herself she realized the moment she cooked a potatoe (so she says) she needed to cook for the rest of her life. 


I think its an experience you have the moment you enter in contact with food that you realize you love it and cant live without expressing it. 


To me cooking is a drug. That pace, that stress, the movement, the sweat on your forehead, that burn on your lower arm, and for some reason during all that rush you think "why am i working , why am i cooking" , then you see the finished plate , gain a compliment or two or see a smile or hear an "oh wow" from the client and you know why you are there, why you cook , and everything makes sense. 

You get home willing to sleep for 3-6 hours , but for some unexplainable reason you love it and cant get enough of it.


If you really want to give the industry a try first thing i would say is , dont think that it is glamorous. Its a humble occupation where you allow others to gather to experience happiness and excitement, as you express yourself on a plate giving and giving them a great meal.

You may never meet the people you cook for, you may be lucky to get a glance of their smile , but when they leave expressing themselves to the waiters and managers you know you did a good job. To me thats about as much glamour as you will get in the industry. 

That or maybe a cool chef jacket from the restaurant you work at. :rolleyes:  


You will never truly know if your place is in the kitchen until you actually experience what all cooks experience daily. The crazy dinner rush, or the crazy lunch rush. The fast paced enviroment , the printer printing , the bell ringing when the order is done, or the oil popping. 

You have to have the oppportunity to work a day , but not just any day, a day where the experiece is thrilling. 

If by the end of the day , you are tired , wanting to go to sleep , but feel you did a good job and go home with a smile on your face , then you should probably attempt working in the field. 


Obviously thought what im saying is easier said then done. This requires you to go out in the streets look for a stage , hand out somre resumes , and talk to a chef , an owner or a manager , maybe explain the situation if possible and get a chance to come in and work for a day or 2.  This is harder considering you have 0 restaurant experience , meaning you may have to accept working in a lower position , such as Garde Manger , or working the dish pit. 


You can also attempt a culinary course , but not one for hobbists , but for people considering the industry. 

Do something crazy and buy a good chefs knife , buy a sack of potatoes , and start peeling , cutting using different types of cuts , and trying to gain speed.

Read books , but not just cook books , real culinary textbooks , and history books about food or food science. 

Watch videos of other people cooking. 

Research and ask as much as possible. 


And if you have a chance who knows attempt culinary school be it a 6 month course from the ICC or a 2 year program. 


Hope i helped , i was feeling extremly poetic when i answered this post lol , hope you noticed. 


P.S. To me it seems like you have a stable life , a decent job , and possibly a social life. 

Now i ask you , are you willing to give one or 2 of these up to work in the industry and have a chance and experience something out of your comfort zone?

Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.



Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.


post #3 of 13

Hello JTX3! I see Kaique Kuisine has given you some solid insights. I'd like to give you a hearty Chef Talk welcome to the community.


I'm a home cook too, although I cooked very briefly in a small cafe years ago when I was in college. It taught me great respect for the people who cook in restaurants and also how much I didn't know about what it takes to do it on a daily basis. You have daily contact with someone who does, but it's one person with that one person's perspective. Here, there are hundreds, thousands of people to interact with and years of posts and threads to consult. You can do this before you even step foot in a kitchen if you're that timid about it. But I'll leave that part of the discussion to others.


You'll see we have Professional and General forums. As a home cook, you're welcome to read in all forums including the Pro forums, but you mustn't post there. We non-pros post only in the General forums where everyone can post. Be sure to explore all areas of the site including the photo galleries, cooking articles and more. 


I hope you make yourself at home here. I've been a member here for most of CT's life, and I can say my cooking and baking are vastly improved from when I started- and they weren't too shabby to begin with. Well, I didn't bake much....




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post #4 of 13
Thread Starter 

Hey KaiqueKuisine and Mezzaluna, thanks for the kind words and warm welcome.

I do have to agree with you that cooking is indeed in your blood and I felt, in that respect, I was dealt a good hand.  My dad was a cook in the army and I think I sharpened my first knife around age 10. I think my love of cooking came at that time and out of necessity, but eventually it definitely became a passion.  I can safely say (having felt burnt out in other unrelated fields) though that I got burnt out on cooking pretty early in life.

However, my love of food never disappeared.  If anything, it became more intense with time.  I honestly think I have been plotting subconsciously to find a way into a professional kitchen for a long while. Seriously, all I have done the last year is work with my knives, make meticulous lists for the rather simple meals I make for my friends, research recipes, cook and then cook some more, watch videos and TV, read books (techniques and cookbooks) and so forth; I have definitely started to cross into an obsession with cooking.

I can see why you think cooking is a drug.  The dizzying pace in which my head sometimes tries to tell me to slip into definitely gives me an adrenaline rush when I have a hot pan on the stove and I see my dishes start to come together to near perfection.  Then I have to remind myself to stay calm, collected and organized.  All the while, I am making mental notes on what could be better for next time and multitasking still with all the other items I am cooking.  Again, I by no means think I’m even a good cook; just someone who tries harder and harder every day.

I think the kitchen experience (if even a one-time/one-day thing) is something that I really need at this point in my life.  I need to push myself in a career and work harder than I have ever worked before.  I need the challenges associated with kitchen life, and to try and cook under those conditions and challenges.  Really, I love scaring myself and taking on new responsibilities and opportunities. I just wonder if my fear of the kitchen comes from the insecurity of not having any experience other than “just being” an at home cook. Sometimes I wonder what my boyfriend will think of me trying to get into “his profession.”

I love the idea of culinary classes and even college-two options I have already looked into.  Obviously, I really feel I should stage a little first to see if I can even handle the kitchen.  I also loved your PS in which you mentioned the sacrifices I will probably be facing if I take this profession.  Yes, those are things I have really thought of.  I’m not sure why I would be willing to give up any of that, but when I really think about it, I can’t stop thinking about cooking and being in the kitchen.  I feel it’s a calling that wants to punch me in the face, tear me up and tell me who I really am.

If I can come out on the other side, and possibly make a living and career out of cooking (or even just simply the culinary industry), I am definitely a better and stronger person than I was the day before, and isn’t that what life is anyways? “I’m only this far and only tomorrow leads the way…”

I realize that my take on cooking and wanting to be a cook is probably a bit different than most, but I have always thought of things different anyways. 

post #5 of 13

You've certainly been doing some thinking! All I can add is, do some reading here. We have a ton of members who've changed careers, both from kitchens to other jobs and from other jobs into kitchens. Read both perspectives. Our search tool will help you find them, and because we go back almost 14 years, there are a lot of posts and threads to sift through! Some of those people are gone from the community, some are still here. Be aware of posting dates, as the conversation may have paused years ago! The Culinary Students' forum could have some good stuff for you as well. Your best best is to post in the General forums, though, so everyone- professional, student and home cook- can read and respond. 


Still, sometimes you just have to go forward. However you decide to proceed, good luck to you. Know that you have a community here to be part of, where you can come to ask questions, share your experiences and bounce around your ideas. 


Good luck!


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post #6 of 13

welcome on board!! 

kaique already gave you great insights and I share them too.

you sound really like you know where you are heading, and a bit stiffheaded to boot…….

don't get me wrong, that is a good thing in a cook!! 

its really brave also not to take the easy way and ask your boyfriend, although I would encourage you to talk to him nonetheless.

make a point of going your own way but it won't hurt if he knows what you are going to do and can give feedback where needed.


and oh yes, ask questions, as much as you can.

we have some real nice people over here in this community, that you now are part of :) 


good luck on you, I am a woman myself and can only say GO FOR IT and show them you've got balls :D

post #7 of 13
Thread Starter 

Thanks again!


I definitely plan to stage at the restaurant i mentioned above as they are still looking for a cook (it's a sign!) Also, I plan to do some food photography assisting and work as an assistant with a local celebrity chef; I have some wonderful opportunities that are very near me that I just need to go out and seek! I'll definitely post about those adventures in the general forums. 


All the best to all and happy 2014! Here is to the hustle!

post #8 of 13
Thread Starter 

And to just update, SOESJE, I finally told my chef BF last night about me working with the celeb chef as well as possibly assisting at a cooking school.  I was so nervous to tell him and he was so supportive! He mentioned he didn't realize how much I was really wanting to get into the culinary world and he would be there for me for the entire journey. He then told me for our date this week we could work on knife skills. I feel like the luckiest girl alive. :)

post #9 of 13

I'm excited and so happy for you!!! Go for it, girl!!

post #10 of 13
Thread Starter 

I did my first stage today with the cooking school and I got the job!  It's only assisting in the kitchen during classes but it's going to be a great experience and I learned so much even in my first day! I was pretty nervous, but everyone here encouraging me definitely got me to reach out to the Chef and give it a shot!  I'm no longer 'just' a at home cook anymore!  Pretty cool and awesome way to start 2014.


Thank you all!

post #11 of 13

You're gonna do great!! Good luck!

post #12 of 13


Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.



Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.


post #13 of 13

Regret not what you have done but what you have not done!

Suggested reading

The Alchemist by Paolo Coelho

You will find it totally suportive

Best regards,


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