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What to do..

  • Go crazy, travel the world and learn.

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  • Stay local, enrich my education and training.

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  • Give up the passion and settle down. Focus on other priorities.

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Discussion Starter · #1 ·

So this may be a long shot... But you gotta do what you have to do.
Here is a little Bio about me and why I'm posting this thread.

You can call me Shea, I'm 23 year old, male, 6'4", Chef living near the overcast Seattle, WA. I'm the baby of eight kids, so I'm full of character. But also have a hard time making decisions because I'm conditioned to pleasing other people... Siblings, Parents, Teachers, Chefs and etc... At a young age I decided I wanted to be a Chef. 14 years old, I joined a technical arts school for a Culinary Arts class. I'm blessed, that I had the opportunity to steer my education at a young age, with the help of my family. This allowed me, to drop out of regular high-school, do my own home school. And attend the technical arts high-school for Culinary Arts 40+ hours a week. My father was a teacher at this school for a different class. He was the teacher for Forestry and Natural Resources, which allowed me the ability to do so. After I completed 2 years there, I continued my Culinary Arts at a community college where I got my associates degree in arts at age 18.

Fast forward 5 years, I've worked in bunch of restaurants, resorts and clubs, from prep to chef. And due to rain, pain, family and personal strife. Sh*t happened. Due to that and medical reasons, I'm on a several month break from work and personal life. This break has allowed me to reflect and contemplate my goals and aspirations. When I was younger, I was focused on my career and owning my own restaurant. And took the necessary steps to do so, example my young start at education. Now that I'm older and have to survive I find my self putting my passions secondary to my need to survive. Or what I think I need to survive, example, socializing and comfortable living arrangements. And so due to my sabbatical, I have been forced to think critically about my actions and where I'm heading. Making me realize, the next decision I make is going to impact my life forever. Or at least it seems so. Currently I'm Chef of a seasonal wedding venue and Sous chef of an awesome creative catering company.

So, I'm going to throw my thoughts out there in bulletin form. Some will be statements and some are questions. Read it, think about it and get back to me. I would greatly appreciate it...

- I'm done with the wedding venue, too much medium quality mass production catering. And too much liability/responsibility without the appropriate tools and staff. Not afraid of hard work, but I've been doing it for 3 years and I know I'm risking my neck and reputation for some friends. Who are not reciprocating the commitment.

- The catering company I love, because of the environment and employees. The first kitchen job I've had where all employees adhere like family and get along. And are not passive aggressive. But I still feel like i'm still cheating my passion, and not being an artist. Like my gut has always told me to do. And more of a mass production Chef.

- This long break has giving me the freedom to change up my whole living situation. Not tied down by friends, jobs and leases. So I feel I gotta do it now! because I know ill be slow to change later.

- I feel like I haven't been feeding my passion since 1 or 2 years out of Culinary School, and instead have been learning the business brains and interpersonal skills. Which in is so valuable, but its time to refocus on my passion.

- I've always been infatuated with Italy for a number of reasons. A crazy dream would be, for me to move over there for a couple years and absorb as much knowledge as I could. Then come back home.

- I am very humble and an avid learner. I do not like the title Chef YET, because I consider my self a baby and a student in the world of Culinary Arts. Grateful though for peoples appreciation and recognition for my love of food. 

- Because of my break and financial position. If I want to chase a crazy dream, and go to Italy. Now would be the time, what I need. Contacts and people in Italy who would help me settled. I would love to go over for a week or two, in the next month or so. To meet and prepare for my landing. Have no experience, in foreign nations besides my neighbors. 

- If I don't chase a crazy dream, I'm going to break out to my cities here in Seattle or maybe Los Angeles and work in fine-dining establishments. I would appreciate any networking/contacts/advice in these areas.

- Go back to College for further education like a more profound Culinary School (CIA). But I don't like that, since this is a hands on trade job and I don't need a piece of paper to qualify me. Rather earn the experience through working. But I could go back to college for business classes and such. If I felt like that would really help me.

- Final, I give up! I find the best Kitchen job that fits my needs here locally, find me a wife and have some kids! :)

Any way, I am going to end this post here, before I drone on any more. Love to hear other peoples thoughts on my situation.
Just joined today, so you could say this is my "Hello World" page. And if I didn't post this in the correct forum my apologies!

Thank you in advance, and take care.

i like you decided at a young age that this was my career choice and had an associates degree in culinary before i was 21. go crazy, move get out there, work with other chefs, learn how things work elsewhere in different regions, even if you dont go to another country or only visit them for vacation, the way things work in a regions that has no local produce because of winter or is so focused on local ingredients that anything from outside the region cant sell on menus, are valuable lessons in menu design and inventory management. 

a piece of advice i got when i was first starting out was change jobs every time you have to buy new shoes for the first few years and then show that you can be dedicated to a job, as you get older and into management your resume needs to show that you are able to stick around for years but in the beginning its about absorbing as much as you can from as many teachers you can 

i know for a fact that seasonal jobs are a lot of fun and a great learning exp. right now there is a massive summertime shoratage of cooks in shore line New England like Maine and cape cod

 the jobs there are usually from memorial fay to labor day and then your done for the year, not great for stability but a great way to go be someplace for a while. some places are so desperate they may even offer free room and board in addition to pay 

its about to be 2017, no matter where you are in the world you can have a face to face conversation with anyone, so dont let some random got to stay near family pressure keep you suck in your home area 

i have found i spend more time with my family because i have to schedule a specific vacation to visit them, when they were a 45 min drive away i only stayed to visit for a few hours when my days off would give me a chance to visit while it was convenient  

i moved clear across the country knowing nobody, with no job prospects except for what was available in the classifieds just because i want to move

( thats right this happened before cragslist was a thing) 

i could do this because having culinary skills translates to everywhere and anywhere in the world, there will always be cooking jobs. 

go, you will not make this choice later, you will get old and life will get in the way of your ambitions much in the way that you had a medical setback, even people that love you will try and keep you grounded because they fear for you, but you already know all about where you are from and that will always be there for you to someday return to if you want to 
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