A year of unemployment

This week officially marks one year of unemployment, after being laid off from my marketing job. It was an awful experience I hope not many more have to experience. The experience, however, has allowed me to immerse myself in food, focus on culinary school, live in Boston for three months for my externship, and take on more freelance food writing, cooking and photography. And although I always found parallels to food in my marketing position, I never would have been able to accelerate my career as quickly as I have if I had still been working part time in a completely different industry.

With my final semester coming up, I have to seriously start thinking about life beyond freelance. I thankfully have quite a few options, with various risk and levels of pay. I can, of course, work in a restaurant, hopefully starting as a cook II or higher, or being able to quickly advance. That’s my last resort though.

What I’d really like to do is work in a test kitchen full time, developing recipes and then writing about them. To do that, I may possibly have to relocate to another state — New York, Alabama or Boston. Boston is my first choice, NY and AL are tied for “I prefer never to live there, ever.”

Or, I can continue to build my freelance business, offering cooking classes, writing for various publications, and continuing to develop my food photo skills. This option is the most and least attractive. I like the fact that I would be in charge of my schedule, and since I’ve owned my own business before, the business side of things will be a snap. The not knowing when a paycheck is coming next is the least attractive part of the deal, and why this past year has been so stressful from a financial point of view. I’ve always managed to secure enough work to pay my bills (cutting it close a few times), but it’s constant pitching and then worrying if a freelance check is late.

I have three months before graduation to decide. It sounds like a long time, but I’m sure it will sneak up on me.

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            5 Program(s) Found
            • Alumni have appeared in reality competition shows such as Top Chef and Project Runway.
            • Has a team of about 4,000 faculty members focused on helping students tap opportunities in a marketplace driven by ideas.
            • Offers programs in design, media arts, fashion, and culinary.
            • Provides program coordinators who work with students to ensure they have the learning materials, assignments, facilities, and faculty to get the most out of the program.
            • Over 50 campus locations nationwide.
            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            1 Program(s) Found

            Baker College is the largest independent college in Michigan with the most focused approach to education and training available. Our mission is to prepare you for meaningful employment.

            1 Program(s) Found
            • Ranked among the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
            • Lets undergrad students try classes before paying any tuition.
            • Has an average class sizes of 18 for undergraduate and 13 for graduate-level courses.
            • Offers numerous scholarship opportunities that can help students save up to $750 per term on their tuition.
            • Tends to educate degree-seeking online and campus-based students who are adult learners with families and students who work while pursuing higher education.
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            Good for Working Adults
            • Online Courses
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            5 Program(s) Found
            • Received the 2015 and 2013 “Cooking School of the Year” Award of Excellence from the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP).
            • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
            • Externship opportunities are available at numerous famous New York City restaurants.
            • Campus is located near downtown Manhattan, within walking distance of many popular attractions such as the Radio City Music Hall.
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            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
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            4 Program(s) Found
            • Hands-on culinary education with focused attention on each student
            • An ACCSC School of Excellence with multiple “Best Vocational Cooking School” awards*
            • 15,000 graduates, including celebrities like Bobby Flay, David Chang, and Christina Tosi*
            • Programs in Culinary Entrepreneurship, Professional Culinary Arts, Professional Pastry Arts, and much more
            • Campuses in New York and Silicon Valley with nearby housing available
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            2 Program(s) Found
            • Students get real-world experience through the required externship at the end of the program.
            • Curriculum includes laboratory sessions, academic preparation and hands-on experience.
            • Program objectives are to provide students with skills needed for cooking wholesome, attractive, food preparations and to assist graduates in obtaining positions in the food service industry.
            • Accredited by the American Culinary Federation (ACF).
            • Has campuses in Melbourne, Sarasota, and Tallahassee, Florida
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            3 Program(s) Found
            L'Ecole Culinaire , Kansas City
            • Offers educational opportunities for the aspiring, career-minded chef.
            • Students are trained by professional chefs and spend the majority of their final term working in the campus restaurant to learn all phases of the culinary industry.
            • St. Louis campus offers new Food Truck Entrepreneurship courses.
            • Has a student-run food truck that tours around St. Louis.
            • All campuses have a public restaurant where food is prepared and served by students.
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            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
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