Monday, May 16, 2011

Living Your Passion

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!

~Mrs B


  1. No, I've not worked in the food industry--unless you count my high school Pizza Hut job, but I love my life as the Executive Director of a non-profit and working in the insane world of politics.

    What I really want to comment on however, is you posted this at 5:46 am, which caused me to look at your other post times. Let's see, 12:28 pm, 5:54 am, 8:50 am (okay, that's reasonable), 6:05 am, 6:12 am, and your coffee post @ 6:30 am appropriately listing the Keurig coffee maker--one of my greatest joys in life! Thank goodness there were some afternoon times in there on occasion.

  2. We're all set upon the path we're supposed to follow. Not always sure why, sometimes feel twinges of what we'd once dreamt of ... and yet, we are where we are meant to be, sharing our gifts and talents and learning lessons from others ....

  3. After making a significant salary in a professional office, I now make an hourly wage working part-time in a food shop selling cheese and specialty food items...most of which are cooked in house by the CIA-trained chef owner. I worked very hard and did a good job in my previous career, but was never as proud as I am now, to be selling the kind of quality product that comes from the kitchen where I work. I wash dishes, shell peas, debone cooked chicken thighs and mop the floors. But its good, clean work because I sell a wonderful product. It's black and white. When it's good, it's easy to get excited about.

    Then, to top it all off, I've gotten writing work from it...

  4. Holly: I have so much respect for people who work in the non profit sector. I know that it takes a truly generous heart to dedicate that kind of time and energy for what has to be less than equitable compensation. I'd say that's definitely living your passion!

    As for my posts in the wee hours; Well, I live with certain health issues that can be (and are) painful and debilitating. I don't sleep very well because of it, so I tend to be up and about at all kinds of hours. After a decade or so now, I'm pretty used to it.

    It was something I posted often about on my previous blog, but I forget that I haven't really ever touched on it here. I probably should.

    Mary: I know just what you mean about being where we're meant to be. I totally agree. I've always believed that there's a path set in place for us and that we have the option to choose the direction we take at given points in life. Sometimes others divert us from the paths we've chosen; sometimes we do it ourselves.

    I also believe that each phase of this earthly journey is a lesson. The lessons may not always be monumental ones, but they're always important to our spiritual and emotional growth.

    Liza: This is probably going to sound corny, but I'm totally awed by the path that your life has taken. I love how you've embraced all of the things that have come your way in the last few years and I believe that it truly shows in what you write. I so enjoy reading the things you share on your blog and the pieces that you do for SSL. Definitely awesome!

  5. I am so impressed with your attitude Mrs B! Kudos to you in looking back with regret, but appreciating where you are and who you are :-)

  6. Cate: Thank you my friend! I'm equally impressed with your attitude toward life... You are kicking some serious "school butt". I can safely say that I'd never make it through the first week after reading what yours was like! That's what I call living your passion!


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