Hi Chefs of Cheftalk, I really wanted to share my story of wanting to become a Chef and hope you pros out there with the mind of a Chef can give me some advice
When I first graduated from High School back in 2006 in Canada, I told my family that I want to be a Chef and go to a Culinary Arts School. But obviously, old fashioned parents have denied this dream of mine and I had walk down the path of studying Accounting which my family considered as having a proper job and bright future... Before moving on, I think it's important for you guys to understand a little bit of my background. Coming from a traditional Chinese family and the only son in the family, expectation levels were high, especially when you are sent out of the country and have a chance to study abroad. So considering my family's perspective of rejecting me to become a Chef may be reasonable, at least in some people's view and to be honest, I was powerless facing my family, maybe it's the amount of respect I had to give to my parents as they have really worked hard to give me this opportunity to study abroad so I ended up spending 4 years finishing my accounting degree at the university where all 4 years' of tuition was relied on student loan. (So basically, I paid for my own university education..)
So after graduating it's time to repay my loans. After heading back to Hong Kong, my dad offered to pay off all my student loan first and I'll repay him back without interest. So of course, that was the way to go to save myself from paying interest. Then I started working as an accountant and pay off my debt owed to my dad. Finally, debt is all cleared and I believe I have saved enough to really start walking down the path of being a Chef.
Throughout the years, I have tried to use my off-time from work as much as possible to try and sharpen my kitchen skills, but a lot of people tell me, this will never be enough for you to work in the kitchen and told me to face reality. Seriously? Most people around me think of this Chef idea of mine as a joke, cause they think why would you want to give up the things you have now and go work in a kitchen or in their mind "hell". And my reply it's simply, "because i know it will make my life happier, it will make me happier with my life." The common responses I get is "Is Happiness more important or Money (Reality)?"... Hell with it, happiness is more important to me and who knows me better than myself, Happiness is the generator of my motivation, I know this is who I am.
Thanks for reading about what I had to say, so now comes my deepest concern, I'm 28 now without a proper culinary education, I have a thorough understanding of how working in a kitchen would be like by reading books and watching cooking related shows/documentaries, I have confidence that my kitchen skills will allow me to take on the entry role of a professional kitchen, to be honest, if it means I have to wash dishes or be on chopping/preping duties for a good while before being able to actually do some cooking, I am ready to do that, but in reality, would professional kitchens hire an individual without a culinary background like me ?
Besides doing regular cooking training, reading cookbooks, sharpening basic kitchen skills, what else do you guys suggest to really prep myself to get an entry level role in a professional kitchen ?
Considering the limited amount of time I have and the location I'm at, starting fresh at the culinary school doesn't seem to be a feasible plan. It maybe possible that I do it part time, but is it absolutely necessary?
Making such a decision took me a while, as in the Chinese culture, I know tons and tons of judging from family, relatives and friends will be bombarded at me ! Had to get my mind ready for that..
Hoping to get some comments from everyone