The sacrifice and paying dues

Fingres crossed the stress I’ve experienced over the last few months will count towards “paying my dues” in the industry as I make my way through culinary school and figure out the next phase of my career.

To recap, culinary school is something I’ve always wanted to do. I went to art school instead, worked in marketing as a creative director for the last 18 years, and through a series of weird and wonderful events while working at Disney, found myself on the culinary path I longed for when I was a senior in high school.

I loved (past tense) my marketing job and had visions of making Disney my home forever and ever, earning my 5 year pin, 15 year pin, and so on. But, with the recent org changes, my position will be repurposed in December/January, which leaves me with the following decision: stay in marketing, or go into culinary.

I choose culinary. I think.

The pay stinks. And it would indeed be a sacrifice to take such a significant pay cut, not only for me, but my entire family. My family seems to be OK with that though, which I find wonderful and curious at the same time. I’ve learned over the past eight months that I do not want to be a restaurant chef long-term; although I do recognize I need that experience.

I love writing about food, photographing and filming food, and teaching others how to cook food. And I think I’m leaning more towards a private chef/cooking instructor role for me, writing cookbooks, articles, filming how-to’s, and teaching people how to cook at their home or business.

There aren’t a whole lot of cooking classes or instructor roles in the Orlando area, which means I would have to start my own business.

Breaking new ground, even the state of Florida doesn’t know how I would start this type of business. Because the cooking would be done on location, none of the typical permits apply. I called the agriculture division who handles food safety and regulations, and they couldn’t help. I tried the restaurant and hospitality division and they weren’t the right office either; they recommended I try my county for an occupational license. Even though there are no official laws governing this type of business, common sense is telling me that I should (1) get my state food manager certification (2) pay for a mobile cart/vendor license and (3) apply for a sole proprietorship.

Your advice needed:
Are there any readers out there who teach private cooking lessons and offer cooking demos? If yes, I’d love your advice on next steps, what to expect, things you didn’t learn until you got started, etc.

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