Saturday, November 17, 2007

Sea Change

Most of my close friends and family are keenly aware of my career goal. For years, I have wanted to be a food writer/restaurant critic.

The past few years, I have mucked around in a series of jobs that I have found educational, yet personally unfulfilling. In order to simultaneously prove my self-worth and realize my professional goals, I ascertained that my best bet was to attend one of the world’s most prestigious culinary schools. I would imbibe everything there is to know about food and cooking via intense emersion.

Last Monday, I began the Culinary Institute of America’s culinary program. After two long days of orientation, it became abundantly clear that I was in the wrong place. Sacrificing a prodigious amount of change and two irretrievable years of my life, I would become an excellent technical cook. Meanwhile, my writing would get a mere brief jog around the block.

Sitting in a room full of young, aspiring restaurateurs, chefs and industry leaders, I felt a sting in my heart. The yearning I felt to attend the CIA had been misdirected. I surmised very quickly that the school’s course work was, at best, tangential to food journalism. Furthermore, I was told by several forthright upperclassmen that a lot of students and faculty are averse to those who write rather than those who cook or manage. They suggested that I remain mute on my career goals; that food writing is a moot point at the Institute. I immediately considered: “Why should I spend the next two years in this program if my hopes and dreams will be diminished?”

My decision was unequivocal and unyielding. I withdrew from the program, making a very arduous yet positive decision.

What’s next on the agenda? Possibly an apprenticeship with a prominent food writer. I’m also considering beginning self directed studies to become a Fromager. I have always had a serious passion for the utmost stinky cheeses. The world is my oyster and I intend to slurp it up, brine and all.

3 comments:

Christine said...

Kate, I think it was very brave of you to try and is also very brave of you to see that it is not what you want and leave. Well done. Like the rest of your friends and family, I stand behind you and wish you the best with your next adventure!

Cecilli said...

I agree. It's great that you saw this NOW and not a year down the line when you're miserable and stuck in the program. Nothing worse than a bad situation you can't get out of. Brava darling!!

Maria said...

What a brave and difficult decision.I know it was probably not easy for you. Good for you for following your instincts. I can't wait to see what the next chapter holds!