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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            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
            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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            1 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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            2 Program(s) Found
            • Culinary Arts program includes the 3-week Farm To Table® Experience, where students gain a direct, in-depth look at where food comes from.
            • Numerous scholarship opportunities and financial aid are available to students who qualify.
            • Accreditation from the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training (ACCET), and the Council on Occupational Education (COE).
            • 2 campuses located in Boulder, Colorado and Austin, Texas.
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            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
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            2 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
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            2 Program(s) Found
            • 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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            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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