When we went out to dinner on Mother's Day, we had a fantastic server at the restaurant that we went to. I started thinking that he must really love his job to be that cheerful and upbeat. The more I thought about it, the more it made me think about my own past and the path that my life almost took. It really got me wondering whether I'm truly living my passion. I guess I should start by providing a little backstory.
When I was in my junior year of high school, I had the opportunity to graduate early (I had all of my credits) and begin classes at the CIA that coming Fall. No... not the CIA, as in Central Intelligence Agency. I'm talking about the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park NY. It's one of the most prestigious culinary schools in the world and has produced more award winnings chefs and culinary professionals than I could possibly have time to list here. For information about the school and what they offer click here.
There was just one problem... My parents, who had initially been on board with the idea, did a little research and gave it some further thought and decided that the life of a chef was no life for their little girl. Now, keep in mind that it was the late 70's and the term "celebrity chef" didn't even exist. The industry was also dominated by men (which is changing now) and most female chefs were lucky to obtain positions as line cooks and pastry chefs. Don't get me wrong.... It's not that there's anything at all wrong with either of those titles, but it's grueling work and to my folks at that time, it spelled out a pretty bleak future for their darling daughter. So, why didn't I just take the bull by the horns and go anyway? Well...
1) The tuition at the time was quite high, even by today's standards.
2) There were few (if any) scholarships or grants for culinary schools back then.
3) The waiting list was very long and getting longer each year.
4) I was not a "trust fund baby".
Suffice it to say, these facts meant that I had little choice but to continue on with my senior year and start thinking about a different career path for myself.
|Anthony (Tony) Bourdain - CIA graduate|
|Cat Cora - CIA graduate|
|Sara Moulton - CIA graduate|
Do I have any regrets? No. You see, if I had accomplished what I'd set out to do back then, my life would have been completely different. I wouldn't be who and where I am today and in spite of all of the ups and downs that life throws at us, I love my little family and my life as it is today, and I wouldn't trade either one for all the noteriety or money in the world. Besides, I still get to cook all the time. It's just that my "customers" happen to be my close friends and family. I'll take that instead, any day, gladly and gratefully.
I'm still intrigued by the food industry though, and follow the careers of several chefs, both famous and not as well known. My wonderful hubby shares my love of cooking and food and we've worked side by side feeding the people we love for many happy years. How could I ever regret that? I may have taken a very different path in my life, but I believe wholeheartedly that the truth is, I am living my passion.
So, now that I've shared a little bit more about who I am and how I got to this point in my life, I thought I'd share something I felt was inspirational, no matter what your particular passion might be. As I was surfing around some of my favorite food and restaurant sites, I ran across the (here) following video. It truly shows what the industry means to the people who work in it, thrive from it and love it passionately. It also shows that it's a sector of the American business community that is flourishing, in spite of the state of the economy. Better still, it's about inspirational people who are truly living their passions...
Have you ever worked in the restaurant industry? Or... Are you currently a part of it? Is there something else in life that you're doing that you're truly passionate about? I'd love to hear your stories.
Live Well, Eat Well!