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Chefs: How long do i have to be in school to start cooking

how long do i have to wait to cook

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Gabriel’s Answer

Good evening! Full disclosure - I work in financial aid at a university....so take what I tell you with a grain of salt.

When I was young, back in the stone-age, my parents noticed I had a passion for cooking. They "encouraged" me to look at culinary school. I made mistakes because I was immature and inexperienced...and that's on me...my folks did the best they could with what they were given. At the time, I didn't go to culinary school because I thought if the thing I loved doing was my job I would grow to hate it. And maybe that's just me...

I would ask you to take a step back, and maybe talk to the people that matter in your life also...what is your end goal? Your question initially asked how long until you can start cooking. If you have food, pans and a heat source...you can cook right now! What I mean is...do you want to be a chef? Or own your own restaurant? Part of me paying my dues in college was working in the service industry. But it could shape whether you focus on culinary solely, or also focusing on management and accounting if you want to create your own brand. I hope your parents don't hate me eternally for saying this but I need to share a secret...when you go to school...especially college....that doesn't define who you are for the rest of your life. It goes back to what your end-goal is.

Please consider your passion alongside with career-goals. If you have a rough idea of where you'd like to be, please consider seeing if there is a local restaurant/business who you let you talk to them if they align to your goals. Depending on what your goals are, and what level you are in school....two people I know did not go to culinary school but saved themselves a bunch of debt by not going to culinary school (and please research the schools if you do...things sometimes get dodgy when you get into the trades) but be doing an apprenticeship. Again...what's your goal? And yes...it's okay if it changes. I'm assuming you are savvy enough to know the term "sage".

Apologies if I didn't help, but my tenure in the industry taught me a lot. For what it's worth, today is my birthday. And while I'm not paid to do it, I have a beautiful wife and daughter that I get to cook for almost every night. And while culinary can sometimes be more exciting than financial aid...shocker, I know...I love my life...food is love...

Just make sure you do your FAFSA on time... :-) You got this...
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