College Girl... - good food soothes the soul... Blog at - 296677

good food soothes the soul...

college girl... 
Feb. 3, 2013 2:09 pm 
Updated: Dec. 16, 2014 4:46 pm
I decided to take a leap of faith this year. I've enrolled in Culinary School. I will be 50 on May 23rd, and my very first day of college will be on May 28th! Am I crazy?! We have a local Junior college here that offers an Associate degree, and I decided that I really want to put the word "Chef" in front of my name! My dream is to become a private chef or caterer ~ specializing in "farm to fork" cuisine, and keeping true to my Italian heritage. Being an insulin diabetic as well, it will be my mission to inspire people to cook food that feeds the soul, but keeps your body healthy and happy! So, for any of you who have gone to culinary school, I would appreciate any advice you can give!
Feb. 3, 2013 4:12 pm
Good for you! Keep us all posted on your journey. This will be very exciting.
Feb. 3, 2013 4:41 pm
Congratulations ! I too went back to school at the age of 50 . So very different , and so very exciting . The hardest part for me was finding time to do the homework ! Looking forward to hearing all about your new adventure !!
Feb. 4, 2013 8:40 am
I left the corporate world and headed to culinary school at age 49. I graduated with honors and started my own business as a personal chef a few months ago. It was hard to go back to school after nearly 30 years but easy to do well because it was something I am passionate about. Best of luck to you in your new adventure.
Deb C 
Feb. 4, 2013 11:38 am
That is exciting! You'll get in the swing of things very quickly, trust me, you'll have no choice. :) Best of luck to your in your new endeavors! Congrats!
Feb. 6, 2013 10:19 am
Soup - - I did something similar to what you are undertaking in that I dived into the culinary world in my mid 40's. But I took the path of an "apprenticed" chef. Which means that you spend several years under the tutelage of experienced chefs in "real work world" environment instead of a classroom environment. I think both ways of learning are good - and both have pros & cons. In the classroom, you have the luxury of time and mistakes not costing you anything but a learning experience - but in the real world, time & mistakes cost money - not something every restaurant has the luxury to afford. I was fortunate in that the restaurant where I apprenticed allowed me to work my shift and then work on my own time to learn from the chefs. And I could stand by and watch as they did the work and most good chefs are teachers by nature anyway. So as I became comfortable with doing something, and as the chef became confident in me doing it, then I would take over certain tasks and master that part of the kitchen work and then move onto learning another skill - little by little - day by day. I spent 3 years doing this. And then I sprouted wings and flew on my own. Trust me when I say, that culinary work is never "I have arrived" destination. Everyday you learn, some days you succeed, some days you fail - but always learn. Your brain is like your tools and gadgets and knives - add to your repertoire and hone your skills. I too am a better cook than baker. Baking is more a science and cooking is more of an art. Don't get me wrong - there is a bit of art to both - but I find cooking to be more forgiving, more flexible, or "fixable". When I became an executive chef for a cafe last year, I contacted some of the local culinary schools and requested they send some of their interns to the restaurant to complete the last phase of their "schooling". Before an intern can graduate (at least in my state) - they must successfully complete an internship in a restaurant. This is where all the book learning and classroom experimenting goes into "real time". The one thing that a classroom can not adequately teach (at least in my opinion) is a sense of urgency. When a student is in a classroom - they don't really have the pressure of everything being on the line - real life kitchen pressure. And this is important in a real work environment - you must be able to deal with the timing and pressure and urgency. One thing I learned from being an apprenticed chef was that I learned in a "real" environment. I saw what chefs had to do to prep - to get their timing right - what to do when there were mistakes - what to do to compensate - what to do to "make up time" - or to "slow down time" - - that is the one thing I am very grateful for learning. I'm not sure a classroom can teach that - but real life, in a real restaurant can. What I would recommend that you think about is - - is there a cafe or restaurant that would allow you to come in certain days or nights to volunteer your time to help prep - or just help out in any form you can in the kitchen area. You will learn so much from just experiencing a real kitchen in action. I know you can do it - - if you have the passion - - it will give you the drive you need to learn and succeed - I wish you all the best - you go girl!!
Feb. 7, 2013 7:02 am
Congratulations to you...and all the ones who wrote above me. I'm 59 and have a college degree. I can't imagine going back now. It takes so much energy, concentration, time, focus, and dedication. So much easier to do when you have no cares, bills, or worries. Kudos to you!
Feb. 7, 2013 2:10 pm
Wow! Good for you! That is just awesome! Wish you the best of luck! Keep us posted!
Oct. 9, 2014 9:02 am
Sadly, my dream to go to culinary school did not happen. The reality of the cost, coupled with the reality that our son will be starting college in 2016 knocked me into the financial reality of the debt we would acquire with BOTH of us going to school. But, I'm OK with it now, and am actually thinking about starting a small catering business of my own, just to see how I would like it. I've been gathering info on getting my home kitchen approved by the health department, and all of the technical things that are involved. Any thoughts from anyone who caters from their home? I could sure use your wise counsel! Thanks!
Dec. 16, 2014 4:45 pm
wow..over a year since that last post! In the end, very happy that I did not go to Culinary School, as God always has a better plan. My hands were hurting so badly, I went to see an orthopedic surgeon. I ended up needing hand surgery on both hands. Had the first surgery last month, and will have the 2nd surgery early next year. As you all know, your hands are your best tools. When the pain became overwhelming, I just stopped cooking. I was crushed, and very angry that I could not cook! Thankfully, my left hand is healing well, and my strength and dexterity is returning. I have a friend that has a catering business, and I'm hoping to start doing prep work for her. Thanks to everyone for your encouraging thoughts and words. Who knows...maybe someday I just might take a few culinary classes, just for the fun of it!
Dec. 16, 2014 4:46 pm
oh...and the "cooking tragedy" that I noted in my profile...tonight, I made the BEST broccoli cheese soup ever! The boys were fighting over it! WOOHOO!
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Home Town
Stickney, Illinois, USA
Living In
La Porte, Indiana, USA

Member Since
Oct. 2005

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Cooking Interests
Baking, Mexican, Italian, Southern, Quick & Easy

Gardening, Music, Charity Work

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About Me
wife and mother - working as the worship leader and Children's Ministry Director at my church. I love to garden, make music and COOK! Cooking is my passion and my therapy.
My favorite things to cook
I'm more of a cook than a baker, but I love to cook Italian (being Sicilian in heritage). My dream is to someday open a breakfast/lunch diner - open at 6am, close at 2pm. Use all my Dad & Grandmother's best recipes....maybebsomeday....
My favorite family cooking traditions
I love cooking for the Holidays, baking cookies, making traditional Italian dishes. I am blessed to have a husband and a 16 year old son, who both love to try anything I cook! We laugh at the "misses", but we rejoice in the "successes"!
My cooking triumphs
When we have an especially tasty meal at a restaurant, the "challenge" is on for me to go home and re-create it! I love it when I can actually make it better than the restaurant!
My cooking tragedies
I made a batch of broccoli-cheese soup that was horrific, and my boys will never let me forget it! I need to redeem myself one of these any recipes would be greatly appreciated!
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