I'm curious as to how I'll be treated in this industry. I grew up collecting recipes before I could even comprehend them. I just cut them out of magazines and newspapers and started putting them in a photo album. I would watch cooking shows that came on in the 60s, 70s, etc., and at age 13, began making my first dishes. I hung around the kitchens of my mother, aunt, grand-mother, and great-grand mother, picking up tips and watching them create beautiful southern meals.
I learned my knife skills from watching Jacques Pepin, Martin Yan, Paul Prudomme and several others. I joined the U.S. Army and when I completed my tour of duty, I went to school and received a diploma for legal secretary and have a certificate in Business Management/Supervision. I worked in law firms for over 21 years and retired in 2010. Two years ago, I enrolled in culinary school and will graduate in two weeks. I have stayed on the academic honor roll since enrollment and am a little nervous, but nonetheless, excited about working. Hopefully, it will be a joy going to work. I don't think I've ever experienced "joy at work".
Anyway, as I stated earlier, I have cooked for over 40 years and not just simple home meals (I've made those, too), but extravagant meals like Veal Veronique, Boiled Egg Stuffed Meatloaf (a slice of egg in every slice), deboned and stuffed chicken quarters, Hollandaise sauce, chicken Marsala, Steak au Poivre, Tiramisu, Sicilian tomato sauce, demi glace, stocks, broths, etc. I can scramble the best fluffiest eggs, and I bake on the weekends just to practice. I recently made char sui buns, potato hamburger buns, and old fashioned chocolate cake. This cake was so moist, I sent one to my husband's job and he said the consensus was "spectacular". I really care about the freshness, quality, and above all, sanitation in my work space.
My question is with all of this experience under my belt, along with a formal culinary education (I've finally learned the how, whens, whats and whys of cooking), will I be treated similar to a recent culinary school grad that had no cooking experience prior to school? Not to sound pompous, but I've observed the students in my class and you should see what they do to eggs and half of them, if not all, don't know you're supposed to split leeks and rinse them BEFORE you put them in a stock. Some also think that just peeling a carrot eliminates washing it afterward. It's crazy how they enter competitions and are proud of winning bronze metals and prancing around the school, working on the cafeteria grill, proclaiming themselves "expert" chefs. It drove me nuts and I am truly glad to be done with that mishmosh. Will I be treated like a culinary school novice and what can I do to set myself apart? I do realize that I AM NOT A CHEF; I AM A COOK, and am willing to do what it takes to do an excellent job and gain the trust of the chef who hires me.
Any advice? Thanks.