Beginning Culinary School

It was midnight on a particularly hard yet incredibly boring weekday, the whole day spent on the edge of or in tears as I worked on frustrating projects, stressed over the lack of dinner ingredients in my fridge, cleaned up after my dog that was acting out again, planned for an upcoming move, and wondered when on earth I'd finally be able to do the many things I was dreaming about.

My sister recently decided to go to law school, my brother about to ship off for air force boot camp, another brother finally living his dream of moving to Alaska. And what was I doing? Sure, I love my work both freelance designing and editing for The Collaboreat, but I felt a bit stuck. Is this what I want to do for the rest of my life? I don't think so. There's so much more I want to do with my life and at 22, the world is wide open and waiting for me to make some big moves.

So that night I tossed and turned as I thought of what I wanted to do with my life and how I would do it RIGHT NOW.

I've been thinking about culinary school for a while now, increasingly so as food has worked its way into more and more of my life. Not only would it help my food writing, photographing, and styling, but I've always loved cooking and have wanted to delve in deeper and see if I'd like a career in the culinary industry!

With Josh graduating in a month and a move to Indiana for his new job coming up, I felt like this summer would be a great time to seriously look into culinary school and see what I could do. A bit eagerly, I began searching and immediately got discouraged. There's a total of two professional cooking schools in Indiana, both of which cost more than we'd make in a year just for one year of school and would take me at least two years to get through. I didn't have that kind of time or money.

My hopes were dashed and I started scrambling to come up with a plan B. I looked into different universities with other degrees I'd been interested in and thought about apprenticing under creatives or different chefs as an alternative form of education. But I kept thinking of culinary school with sadness, longing to have the chance to gather with other passionate students and learn day in and day out from incredible chefs.

And then I had my chance! Months ago, a fellow food blogger mentioned a local culinary program that I'd kept in the back of my mind and she reminded me of it again just last week. Spanning eight weeks (finishing right before we planned to move) with a reasonable tuition, I felt my dream within my grasp.

The catch: It was starting in four short days. This was my only chance and it was hanging by a thread.

So on midnight after that awful day, my mind raced as I poured over every page of the culinary school's website and I created a mental to-do list on what I'd have to do early that next morning to make it happen. I gave the school a call first thing after a restless night of short sleep and I desperately tried not to get my hopes up. Who in their right mind would let me in just four days before the program started?

"I know this is crazy, but I was wondering if it's AT ALL possible for someone to get into the program that starts next week."
"You mean, the program that starts on Monday?"
"Yeah, I guess so! Let's see what we'd have to do..."

In a mad rush, the extremely patient and kind director and I made a plan to make it happen in just four days. After hanging up with the plan in place, I danced around my kitchen nearly in happy tears. I was going to culinary school. Sure, my last-minute school uniform won't match the rest of the class and the pants the director scrounged up had to be hemmed by nearly a foot, but I'm going to culinary school.

Today is my first day and as this post publishes, I'll be sitting down with my eight classmates for the very first time, ready to soak everything in. This weekend was crazy and I'm sure the next eight weeks will be a bit stressful as I try to manage my work and The Collaboreat on top of school every day, but life is short and I need to make the most of it RIGHT NOW.

I hope you don't mind if I share a bit about my culinary school experience every now and again here on the blog when I have a chance. I'm so excited about this huge and sudden change and can't wait to tell you all about it!