I can’t believe my year of culinary school is over! Sad face. I guess it’s back to the real world for me. (Ew!) Some of you have been asking about what I thought of school and what my plans are now, so I thought I would share. If you haven’t been been following my culinary adventures, here are all my past posts for y’all:
- A Big, Fat WJWE Announcement - Let’s Go to Culinary School!
- Culinary School Update: Part 1 - Soups and Proteins and Veggies!
- Culinary School Update: Park Deux - Pastries!!
- Culinary School Update: Part III - International Cuisine!
- Culinary School: El Fin! - Banquets and Buffets
When I decided to give up the ole 401k and sign up for school, I was not nervous that I would regret my decision in the least. I figured worst case I would have a fun break from my desk job and be a better cook. Was it worth a small fortune to learn how to make hollandaise? You betcha! In the end, I LOVED school. I made amazing friends who naively believe I am 23 (hopefully they aren’t reading). I learned A LOT- more than I even expected. Not only did I learn cooking techniques, but I learned invaluable life lessons from my (nearly all- you know who you are) amazing chef instructors and peers. Things they don’t teach you in a book or in an online class. I truly woke up every day excited to go to school.
But mostly, I learned about myself. What I really want to do in life (hint: it does not involve casual Fridays, dozens of team meetings or figuring out how to unblock Facebook). Turns out I love to cook, and develop recipes and teach and write. I guess what started out as a fun hobby (this blog) turned out to encompass all of my passions, (slightly minus my need for daily human contact). School taught me how to think in techniques instead of recipes. Why you should use baking powder instead of baking soda, what flavors work together, how to tell a steak is done just by looking at it, instead of following a how-to step-by-step. In a way, my new found intuition and understanding of ingredients mirrors how I am building my career post-school. New opportunities come my way every day, and I can see how each one fits into my current conglomerate and if it leads to a successful recipe for a fulfilling livelihood. (Lord that was cheesy! I won’t do it again I swear.)
So what now? The truth is I don’t know. I definitely didn’t start my blog hoping to start a business. I was just excited when someone besides my Bubbe started reading it! But then people started to take notice. They liked my writing, my recipes and wanted me to write for them, make cooking videos. I didn’t go to school to work in a restaurant, I’m just way too chatty for the back of the house. So I am cooking up dinner ideas and teaching cooking classes at my local supermarket, working on my ever-growing freelance projects, and still trying to figure out the appeal of Twitter. It all keeps me quite busy! Maybe I don’t have it all figured out quite yet, but I am closer than I have been before, and I am pretty darn happy. And isn’t that what it’s all about, really?
Readers have asked me- should they go to culinary school? Is it worth the money and time? This is a tricky question to answer. Much like any higher education, a job is not guaranteed when you get out. What is guaranteed, is that the job will hardly cover the handle of whiskey you will need at the end of a stressful day in the kitchen. And much like any higher education, you get what you put in. It is pretty hard to fail out of culinary school. As long as you show up, you will finish. But you will get so much more if you practice at home, stage (aka work for free), ask chefs questions, ask peers questions. A lot of my fellow students did not finish school. They discovered that it was not their passion, and that is okay too.
Of course I will keep y’all updated as my culinary adventures continue. And if you have any questions, email me at amy at whatjewwannaeat dot com or leave them in the comments! And thank you for reading- I may have never taken the leap if it wasn’t for your support. Jew the best!