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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am twenty two years old, born and raised in Baton Rouge , Louisiana.

I have worked on the line as a cook since I was sixteen. From what it seems to me from your posts, not a lot of people get on the line very fast in other States. Especially like Atlanta, New York, Chicago, ect...

I was hired with no experience at a seafood restaurant named "Trinity's" when I was sixteen. I worked grill and fry for awhile before working my way to saute'.

As time progressed, I found myself working in many other fine dining restaurants here in town. I ended up at The Country Club of Louisiana after having a run through of a few different places.
The Country Club was interesting to say the least. Since the public was not allowed into the restaurant, we served maybe forty to fifty tickets a night. The main purpose of our kitchen was banquet. We would have to cook two to three hundred servings for partys.

At that point I decided that I wanted to cook for a living. I went to The Culinary Arts Institute of Louisiana to sign up for my education.
I stopped at the final signature and told them I needed to think about it, as would any reasonable person.

I never went back.

I quit my job at the Country Club and got into computers.

I went to school for computer networking and repair. I hated it.
I enjoy building computers as a hobby , though I hate networking, and a tech job only goes so far.

After working as a broadcast operator at our local television station for two years, I am now back in a kitchen. Making very little money, and very little hours. It isn't even a real kitchen, though it is a fun kitchen to work in.

In any event, I believe I am meant to work in kitchens, I seem to handle physical stress well, and I love the chaos that enues in a kitchen.
I am often seen as very aggressive in the kitchen, and take my work very seriously. I feel shame if something is not done with love and attention and regard to every detail. I also study Aikido, and am in complete intrigue with the Japanese culture.

I would like to go to school in Japan, though I do not know if that is completely practical. I love Eastern cuisine, and it doesn't seem to upset my acid reflux.

:mad: Acid Reflux... what a Cook's Bane! :mad:

I cannot eat tomato sauces without getting horrid acid reflux, all my Pizzas and Pastas are cream and pesto based. I cannot drink alcohol, with the exception of Sake, I believe it is something to do with the fact that it is a rice wine, and not an acidic fruit wine.

I think I would like to prepare Eastern dishes for people who have acid reflux.
I can't eat red meat, it upets my stomache. I only eat fish and chicken, though I can prepare red meat with no problem. I am aware of medications to help this, though I hate medications and believe I should simply avoid foods that inflame my acid reflux.

I think I might like California, I just don't know where I want to reside and what I want to do with my life, and I feel that I am only getting older.

I would love to work In a kitchen, live in Claifornia, and teach children Martial Arts. I do want a family, so I am keeping that in mind as well.

I often wonder If living in Japan would be all that bad...


Youth is wasted on the Youth... I am young and have all this energy and all I am is completely and utterly confused.

Sorry to rant... I just don't know what to do.

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1,047 Posts
Hi, Ronin - Whew! Glad you got that all off your chest!

I too, love Japanese cuisine and culture, and have studied Aikido for almost 20 years. My instructor, a Japanese/Hawaiian, was also owner of a Japanese restaurant, so I not only learned an amazing martial art, but wonderful cooking from him and his wife!

I don't have any idea about cooking schools in Japan, but my first thoughts are that if you don't speak Japanese at a conversational level, you'd be in the weeds before you even started! People who think English is a hard language to learn should try Japanese!!!

There are excellent Japanese chefs in America, both in California and in New York. If you're serious about school, what about investigating a school in those locations, and possibly an apprenticeship in a restaurant with a Japanese chef? I don't know of any culinary school that focuses on Japanese/Eastern cuisine, but they do cover the basics.

Good luck! Let us know how your thoughts are progressing.

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3,236 Posts
Welcome to Chef Talk Ronin. :)

We seem to share the same passion: Japan.

Here, in Canada, you can go to Japan to teach english to children. The salary is not bad and they give you an appartment, Japanese size. I know it's not in a kitchen but you'll be in Japan! Contact the Japanese embassy if interested.

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846 Posts
Have you ever posted at a site called cookbooks online?

Getting back to the hornet's nest you seem to have gotten yourself into - yours is not an unusual situation. An age old paradox exists - do I do what I love or what is going to net me a decent income?? Is this one of the reasons you didn't go back to the cooking school to enroll?

You seem so traumatized by this situation, I'm sure it was extremely cleansing to recount the whole thing here. I know I feel better once something flies off my fingers onto a keyboard.

If you truly, in your heart of hearts believe you belong in a kitchen, you will fight that "draw" for the rest of your life if you don't follow through with it. Frankly, at 22, you're still young enough to work your way up the ladder and get one of those higher-ranking, better-paying culinary jobs. With your experience and desire, it won't be long until you ascend to chef or better.

Is $ a problem? If not, perhaps you need to screw up your courage and go back to the cooking school. Does the school have job placement after graduation? If not, I'd look for one that does.

I worked as a secretary for 21 years on Wall Street and type 100 words a minute. This, of course, got me a paycheck but not much more in the area of feeling rewarded. I cooked whenever I possibly could, taking catering jobs on the weekends and baking cakes when needed for work (sure beat the he11 out of those card store cakes!). I brought party leftovers to work for afternoon snacks for fellow employees. I baked sodabread for St. Pat's. I made Christmas cookies and Easter breads. I sold home-made canned goods to fellow employees at Christmas time for stocking stuffers and gift-giving. This is how I contended with the calling to cook - until I could cook for a living.

If you have aspirations of making it big in cooking, it's a long hard road. However, if, at least for the next few years, income is not an issue...perhaps it's time to go back to that cooking school and finish what you started.

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164 Posts
After 16 years of being a medical professional who does make a good living i too felt that slaving in a hot kitchen creating wonderful food and feeding other was a passion i could no longer ignore..
i just graduated from the Cordon Blue and love what i do now..
just grab that bull by the horns and go for it..
Iam sure you will do marvelously well and you will make a way to do it no matter what your financial circumstance may be..

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1,640 Posts
You did write what you want or would love to do. It seems incredibly achievable to me... and a very mature answer all in all. Go west my son. Whats stopping you? If your not comfortable going alone maybe you can find a friend to start out with? If you can't find a friend to make this move with, then maybe enroll in a college out there with dorms where you might meet others similar.

Angry chef (a regular here) lives in CA and practices martial arts in her off time. Although she is a pastry chef your goals seem pretty similar and if she can do it so can you. It's a very very realistic goal and what's wrong with that? Why ignore what you wrote yourself and keep searching?

If you'd like to go to Japan there's no reason why that can't be done too. Perhaps if you found employement in one of the large hotels in CA that also have hotels in Japan you could even have the chance to "study" their culture while working thru an exchange program in the hotel ...or perhaps that might be your vacation destination for the future. I wouldn't move there until I experienced visiting once or twice to be certain... that's a BIG cultual difference.

I tend to disagree with the "NEED" for a culinary education, since most jobs are achievable with-out prior you learned from your past experiences. I am a strong believer in higher education but I tend to believe the education you'll need most (that you can't learn on the job) if you become a chef is business skills. Eventually when you work up the ladder business knowledge and skills become important.

Why not follow that dream...get a job in a Japanese restaurant out in CA. Work at a martial arts studio in your off time and one day you'll probably marry and have that family too. WHY NOT?
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