Juggling culinary school and work

I should be more careful what I wish for. I hoped, prayed and promised Fate I would never ask for anything ever again (eeek) if I were to be selected for the freelance food editor position I applied for over the summer. Apparently, Fate forgot that in 1982 I asked if he could make a boy in my class like me, with the promise to never ask for anything again, because I got the job!!

I’ve been writing and writing my fingers to the bone, for free, for the past three years. Granted, I’ve landed a few paying jobs, but for the most part, to build a portfolio and much needed accolades and street creds, I’ve been sacrificing pay to be able to write for places like Food Network and Martha Stewart Radio. I know every food writer, heck every writer, in America is hating me right now because the creed is that “you never write for free.” But, I felt I had to do it. I started this career late in the game and had a lot of catching up to do; I didn’t have 10+ years to build experience and a writing portfolio — I set a goal to do it in less than five.

Needless to say, I was a little excited to read a posted position in my area for a food writer and recipe developer — those positions are unheard of in Orlando. I was interning at the Test Kitchen at the time, but knew I’d be home in a month, and applied. I didn’t expect to hear anything, but they called. And that call turned into another, and another, and then emails to schedule in-person interviews when I returned to Orlando.

Long story short, I was offered (and accepted) their contract position and will be with them until the holidays. I’m working on my first assignment as we speak, and having a blast — it’s my dream job in Orlando, for sure, and although only a few months long, it’s another chance to do what I love — with pay!

While I’m freelancing full time for this company, I’ll also be going to school twice a week. Those two days will be long — 8 a.m. until about 6 or 7 p.m. between school and work. After working at the Test Kitchen, I know I can survive anything, but it will be challenging.

So, Fate, if you’re listening, can I give back my 1982 credit for the boy in elementary school, and see if I can have one day to work from home after school instead?

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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
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            • 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*
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            • Campuses in New York and Silicon Valley with nearby housing available
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            • Gives students the opportunity to earn their associate’s degree in the culinary arts field in less than 15 months or bachelor’s degree in the food service management field in 2.5 years through their year-round schedule.
            • Located in Norfolk and Newport News, Virginia.
            • Offers externship experiences to students for experience in the field.
            • Hosts regular career fairs for employer recruitment.
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            • Accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACSCOC).
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            • 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
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            • Ranked among the Best Colleges in the South in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
            • Ranked the 13th  Best College for Veterans in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
            • A private institution founded in 1977 with a current total undergraduate enrollment of over 15,00.
            • Its student-faculty ratio is 12:1, and 89.3% of classes have fewer than 20 students.
            • Has students attend one class at a time to ensure easy access to faculty and a more hands-on education.
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            • Has been training students in the culinary arts since 1946.
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            • Instructors are typically real-world professionals with many years of experience in their career fields.
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            • Presents the full tuition cost up front. In most cases, even textbooks are included in the total price.
            • Provides career services associates to help students review their resume, provide career counseling, help with job searches, and more.
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