We Are Chefs


Hi.As my profile says-I'm going to a community college for my culinary degree.I'll be 40 yrs old when I start school.Yes I began late and I wish I had did this earlier in life.I am an insulator making very good money,but I'm willing to give it all up to do something I have always had a passion for.My question to you fine folks is am I too old to start a career as a chef?Any insight would be very appreciated.Thank you.

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Let me offer a dose of reality to your question. Ya, I know the original poster won't be reading this reply, but I'm sure somebody will come across this link in their own search for answers or meaning in their lives. It's funny, how you're only getting replies from fellow culinary students, many of them older, who really shouldn't be replying at all to such a question since they know nothing about real kitchen life yet. I read one reply from a culinary instructor and that should have really pointed you in the right direction. His "Good Luck" comment says it all. I bet he loves his new schedule and perks. Much like that of an R & D Chef.

You see, I've not only been to one culinary program, but two. No, I didn't go to one of those big, expensive schools that teach techniques and recipes that you will probably never see again or at least not for a very long time. By that time, you won't remember it or the Chef will expect you to do it their way. Nothing like spending loads of money or worse, borrowing it, to learn outdated recipes or rarely-used techniques. I don't care how fun it is. It's just plain stupid.

I left a good job in my 30's to pursue my "passion" and went bankrupt three times trying. Yes, I had to return to my old profession every time to avoid being evicted or starvation. No, not every kitchen lets you eat in it silly. Not enough to really survive on. That costs money. I hate to tell you older folks, but you're really in for a big surprise once you get out there with your worthless diplomas. You can say it is of personal value to you, but you're going to discover that means dick in the real world of professional cooking. Don't be so naive this late in life.

I can't tell you how many "older" employees, all of whom had the same visions of grandeur, came to work alongside me only to walk out after discovering what this work is really all about. No money+no time+no insurance+few/infrequent breaks+too much stress+Day in & day out++++====No Life. ALL of the Chefs I've worked with over the years have admitted they would leave "the life" if they had other options. Instead, they must now toil on forever and wear their coats, begrudgingly, more as a symbol of toughness than professionalism and pride. Their only real pride is that they have persevered for years doing something they no longer love. kinda like a lost love affair huh?

I made it to Sous Chef and then the recession hit my hotel. Now, I'm back in a real college and much better off with these scars I got from all the dreaming and the lessons learned. I really did try, but in the end I just couldn't see any light at the end of the tunnel. Hell, even Marco Pierre White admitted that he was glad to get away from the stove and now realizes how much he missed in life while working as one of the best Chefs in history.

I'm sure there are a few exceptions out there, maybe on the foodie network or some CEC who spends most of their time behind a desk than a stove. I hate to piss on your parade, but, yes you probably are too old if you must ask. Your insecurity will haunt you in a real kitchen when the ticket machine is droning and the illegals and thugs are dancing around you in your state of confusion and illusion. Stop looking up to Chefs with lots of worthless acronyms on their coats and go talk to a real cook who's praying for rain. Be careful what you wish for.
I just came to this site today so this reply is coming 2 years later. This post is completely jaded and one sided. If you think you are going to be Anthony Bourdain coming out of college at any age, nevermind over 30, own your own place and be famous then yeah that is a rude awakening. If you keep your senses and get trained as a MANAGER not just a "cook" in your school then you have a LOT more choices. Not to mention working in a restaurant is not the only place you can work as a chef.
As an instructor, and someone who went to culinary school in his 30's, I can tell you it is not too late. In fact my best students have been the ones who are making culinary their second career. All you need is a desire to learn and a passion, which you seem to have. The only factor age makes a differance is stamina. If you can stand for 12 hours than don't worry about it.
I'm 43 and I just started school this year.
46 Here! I can run circles around the young ones! Your never to old to learn.

Aloha. I'm new to this site, but not new to the culinary field. I have worked in many kitchens since I first started in 95. Along the way I had my reasons for not going to school, like 5 kids. Now I'm 45 and starting school in April, not worried and willing to add to the skills I picked up in real life work. I can move fast without using wasting too much motion. I won't listen to people holding me down.

Getting ready for B A from Le Cordon Bleu.

Never to old. I to have begun my pursuit in the culinary field. I went back to school this year and I just turned 50.  My first career was in the healthcare field. 

while this thread started 4 years ago I have you beat I started school at 51yrs old and while I'm old enough to be a parent to my class mates and some of my instructors I get nothing but support and encouragement from them.  my current employer hired me over other applicants because older employees have a well established work ethic  

I last posted when I first returned to school at age 45. This June I will receive my Associates degree from LCB Las Vegas. I will soon begin classes for my Bachelor's degree. Never to old to educate or re-educate yourself.Good luck in your future.

For what its worth, Michael, I'm 58, never been to culinary school ( would love to go if I ever get the chance), tried to escape the kitchens when I was younger, and again after I turned 40, and I can't think of a place where I would rather be than in the Land of Hot Metal, Sharp Steel, and Open Fire. God, what a rush!!!

This is for all of us. I don't know who originated this, but it sure hits the nail on the head. I hope you like it and share it.



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