TheProdigal wrote:peppermint wrote:TheProdigal wrote:If you don't leave every pot in the kitchen dirty you're doing it wrong. Then again, I'm used to having a paid dishwasher ten feet from me. I plate like a goddamned motherfucker.
14 years of my life in kitchens.
Wow! What makes you want to leave the culinary world for the legal world? (Don't have to answer if you don't feel comfortable disclosing)
I never really got into fine dining; lets be honest, the money is the same if you're cooking at IHOP or for a James Beard winning chef. There's also very little career advancement and its extremely hard to move up within one location, you need to be applying for jobs at other places to become a sous or head chef. I got lucky I got out of that race when I did and landed in the kitchen at a Fortune 500 company with benefits, 401k, vacation and stock options. Its a deal pretty much unheard of in the restaurant industry, so I'm pleased. I've got a number of friends still chasing the prestige of working in fine dining, working for $10-12/hr (or in kitchen equipment when they don't pay you for the month before they go bankrupt) and $40k or more in culinary school loans. I remember having to drive myself to the hospital bleeding from my hand after one of the knives they were too cheap to sharpen pulled a bag with it, and my hand into the blade. I don't regret the decision to get out of that kind of environment.
They also never tell you that your hands stop working so well after a few years. You lose fine motor control and things start slipping out of your hands. That's not a metaphor. I also have scars across almost all of my knuckles from a skin reaction to wearing vinyl gloves 8 hours per day for years -- my hands swelled up so much that I couldn't bend my fingers without bleeding from my knuckles. All of my fingernails fell off at the same time and they've never grown back quite as strong as they used to be.
I suppose that doesn't really answer your question. I've some ambitions that go beyond food service, and the career opportunities aside, the third-party validation offered by an elite law degree is a powerful thing. Long-term, the wife is going to be doing mental health counseling, so it would be great if we could work together in some capacity -- we're currently talking about asylum and immigration work.
I've heard similar stories from friends in the culinary field sadly (not all have had this experience, but many have), and I even had one friend go so far as to say it took the joy out of cooking when he had to do it for a living, but I guess that just depends person to person.