I'm 45 years old and have been cooking professionally for a little more than six months. While I have wanted to do this decades ago, I couldn't justify starting over with a new career while trying to meet my former financial and family obligations. Now, with no obligations except to myself, I am free to pursue my father's chosen profession of being a chef.
I currently work at a restaurant that prides itself on 'from scratch" cookery. Most of my fellow line cooks are half my age or younger. Even so, I can still rock and roll with the best of them during a full swing weekend dinner rush. That was the kind of confirmation I was seeking when I applied for the job before investing valuable time and money in going to culinary school. Now with my feet wet, I know what I am getting into. Even worse, I love it!
I'm not a fan of for-profit colleges or accruing more student loan debt than I'm likely to be able to pay off with a cook's wages. So I found and enrolled in a new two-year culinary arts/management program at my local community college. The instructor is an ACF certified Executive Chef and a pretty decent guy. They also use CIA's textbooks and a similar curriculum. I'm quite excited about it!
Yes I know I'm crazy. But as I understand it, that's a prerequisite for this profession.