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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            Culinary Arts (AS)
            • Program areas include Culinary Arts, Culinary Management, and more
            • Students are taught cooking styles from around the globe, including Classical European, Asian, and Latin cuisine
            • Curriculum designed to prepare students for a career as a chef, with course topics that include Culinary Techniques, Management by Menu, and Nutrition
            • Alumni have appeared in reality competition shows such as Top Chef
            • Flexible Scheduling
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            • Transferable Credits
            Intensive Sommelier Training
            • 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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            Culinary Arts
            • 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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            • Flexible Scheduling
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