Is Cooking My Passion or my Hobby? Profession vs. Past Time
The art of cooking is a popular one, and foodie culture has gotten a huge boost from the Internet and the proliferation of food websites and magazines. Learning to make restaurant-style dishes is no longer that hard for home cooks, because it's simple to look up videos showing exactly how this or that technique is done.
However, making the leap from home cook to professional chef may be more in line with what those people want. Recognizing the right time to leap, though, is not always clear.
Passions, Hobbies, and Hitting a Wall
If cooking is your hobby, it is something fun to do, but not something that you let take over more and more of your life. If cooking is your passion, you'll notice that you're spending more time cooking, planning to cook, and serving that cooked food, than you are other activities in your life. You'll also find that if you have to take care of tasks related to cooking (like the dishes), you'll do them instead of avoiding them.
You'll also find ways to keep cooking even if you face major challenges. You know cooking is a passion when you suddenly have to change what you cook drastically (e.g., a family member develops a severe health issue that requires prominent food restrictions) and do so happily -- and intensely.
But that passion can hit a wall if it's not given a chance to keep growing. That point is where you need to consider expanding from a home hobby cook to professional food preparation.
Judging the Great Divide
Of course, working in a professional kitchen is a lot different from cooking up a storm for friends and family. Ratios are the rule instead of recipes, you're cooking for several hours instead of just a couple, and you make the same things over and over again -- not to mention when customers complain, you can't tell them to just deal with it or that you'll do it differently next time, like you can tell your housemates or children.
Plus, professional cooking requires a lot more knowledge, especially of restaurant kitchen culture. It's not something where you can sign up for culinary school on a whim; cooking school costs money and requires time. You have to be sure you want to make that jump. So how do you tell?
One clue is, again, that you feel like you've hit a wall and need to expand further within the world of food. Another clue is whether you feel like you could handle working in a restaurant. Choose a few restaurants with open kitchens -- the ones you can see into and see what the chefs are doing -- and watch. You should be a good customer and order something, but get a seat where you can look at the cooks without being too obvious.
Choose someone in the kitchen and watch that one person for a while (if you try to watch everyone, you'll be unable to get a sense of what the job is really like). Watch how they cut, watch how they interact with others, watch how they move -- do you think you'd be able to do that for hours on end? Now choose someone else and observe them for a while, asking yourself the same question.
Stepping Through the Door
If the answer is yes, you think you could do that, you may want to investigate cooking school programs. Look for programs that offer a range of classes, not just straight training to become a restaurant chef. The more you're exposed to in classes, the better your chances of finding the specific area of food services that really speaks to you.
For example, you may find you prefer creating recipes or investigating new natural flavors and fragrances. Maybe nutrition turns out to be more your style. A diverse culinary school program is your ticket to finding that fulfilling field.
Are you thinking about turning your love of food into a more than a hobby? If you want to earn an Associate of Applied Science in Culinary Arts, ECPI University offers this degree at an accelerated pace. For more information, connect with a friendly admissions advisor today.
It could be the Best Decision You Ever Make!
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