Sea Change

Misc. musings • 17 Nov 2007

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.

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