January 4, 2021

Do You Want to Become a Chef or Own a Restaurant, but Find Yourself Wandering Aimlessly With No Clear Direction?

Too many people don’t have a plan for their lives…they just let fate take its course.

The problem with allowing fate to determine the story of your life is that it’s a terrible author. You end up becoming a part of someone else’s plan, instead of writing your own story. The end result is that fate robs you of your creative gifts—or places them on hold for years or decades.

As a result, many people find themselves drifting through life, working in jobs they don’t like, and unsure of how to get back on track.

The Problem of Not Having a Plan

Most people only have vague plans for achieving their dreams and goals. Perhaps you can relate.

Despite your best intentions of launching a new career in the culinary arts or opening a restaurant, you get stuck.

  • You don’t know what to focus on every day.
  • You set goals, but don’t know how to achieve them.
  • You aren’t sure what to do to shift your current career or life path.
  • You have other obligations that keep distracting you from pursuing your own goals.
  • You have no idea how you’ll get from just having a passion for cooking to earning the title of “Chef.”

Nahika Hillery, Escoffier Austin Culinary Arts Graduate“I really wanted to deserve the title of ‘Chef.’ That was really important to me.”
Nahika Hillery, Austin Culinary Arts Graduate, Owner of Kreyol Korner Caribbean Cuisine

Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts graduate and food truck owner Nahika Hillery faced some of these very challenges early in her career.

“Watching the other chefs work, there were tricks and good practices they had that I didn’t. This put in perspective how much I needed that training. And I wanted to deserve the title ‘Chef’. That was really important to me.”

Trying to figure things out on her own, Nahika found herself spinning her wheels. Her only training was from working at home with her mother growing up, plus a handful of kitchen jobs. There was no plan, and nobody to hold her accountable.

“I needed more training in restaurant management, efficiency in the kitchen, cutting skills, and all other proficiencies that come with working in a professional kitchen.”

Male chef instructor showing female culinary student how to chop vegetables

You Need Clarity, Structure, and Routine

Fortunately, you don’t have to figure everything out on your own, and you don’t have to leave your life up to fate. At Escoffier, our Chef Instructors have decades of real-world experience as Executive Chefs and restaurant owners. They’ve developed recipes and menus. They’ve hired and trained staff.

Shane Witters Hicks, Escoffier Boulder Graduate“You have mentors in a restaurant setting, but you won’t get the variety. At Escoffier, you’re exposed to 10+ executive chefs, and you’re surrounded by them every day. There’s a wealth of mentorship at your fingertips.”
Shane Witters Hicks, Escoffier Boulder Graduate & Private Chef/Educator, The Soulful Spread

All of this experience is distilled down into a curriculum that provides clarity and structure. You move from where you are now to where you want to be step-by-step. In around 60 weeks, you get vast exposure to world cuisines, kitchen management, menu development, and more. And, of course, you’ll get to practice with your culinary toolkit.

When you come out the other side as a graduate, you’re already on a trajectory towards your dream career.

Knife, knives, sharpener, peeler, spoon and other tools in an Online Toolkit

The Escoffier online student’s culinary toolkit.

Obviously, structured knowledge alone isn’t enough. All of the cooking and restaurant knowledge in the world is in books, videos, and even online. The problem, then, isn’t access to knowledge…it’s knowing how to apply knowledge. And that’s where discipline, practice, and mentorship come in.

You Need Discipline and Accountability To Your Dream

A mentor isn’t your savior—you’re the hero of your own life journey. Nor is a mentor necessarily your friend, although they can be.

Your mentor’s main job is to help you set a big and audacious goal for your life, and to hold you accountable to making it happen.

Shane Witters Hicks, Escoffier Boulder Graduate“The chef instructors [at Escoffier] truly care, and they will go out of their way, out of their personal lives, to ensure that students have a quality experience. What more can you ask for from your education?”
Shane Witters Hicks, Escoffier Boulder Graduate & Private Chef/Educator, The Soulful Spread

A professional kitchen can be an intimidating place. Starting and running your own restaurant or bakery requires a big appetite for risk. Without someone who asks you the hard questions, or calls you out when you deliver less than your best effort, you’re setting yourself up for failure.

That’s why you need a mentor who will often believe more in you than you believe in yourself. But you have to take the first step.

Male chef instructor Bob Scherner showing female student how to plate a dish
“You have to be intentional about wanting to gain the skills that the instructors are teaching you,” explains Hillery. “Regardless of how tired I was, I was intentional in every class that I was in. I told myself that if I’m here and not gaining the most out of this experience, then what am I doing?”

“When I walk into any situation now, I at least have the foundations of performing the ‘kitchen dance’ and can blend in easily with any team.’“

Now It’s Your Turn: Find Your Chef Mentor

Will you continue drifting through life, thinking about your dreams, but never taking a chance? Or will you take back control of your life and create one full of direction and meaning?

It’s time to get clarity and purpose back in your life. It’s time to live your values and be the change you want to see in the world.

Get our plan for helping you find your Chef Mentor, and become the hero of your own life journey in the culinary world.

Here are a few more articles on the value of a culinary education:

This article was originally published on May 21, 2018, and has been updated.