What do a documentary film producer, a corporate recruiter, a real-estate broker and a culinary student all have in common? They all want careers in the culinary world. Luckily ICE President Rick Smilow and Anne E. McBride, co-authors of Culinary Careers, provided guidance and answers to any number of questions about how to get from where you are, to where you’d like to be in their class yesterday.

If being surrounded by food enthusiasts has taught me anything it’s that people working in the food industry come in all shapes and forms with a huge array of abilities and goals. Even here in the offices at ICE, my co-workers range from catering-company owners, to one-time personal chefs, to classically-trained pastry chefs, to people with no training what-so-ever who are just hoping their pot-luck contributions don’t fall short. Though all of these people convened with the expressed purpose of helping others take the first step toward lives in the culinary arts, there’s no way to tell what the second, third and fourth steps will be.
Within just the small class, each student had vastly different experiences and widely varied career goals. According to McBride, this isn’t so unusual. In fact, almost every person they interviewed for the book had different culinary career goals, or found their way into a culinary career through the most unlikely of paths. However, she also mentioned that for all these differences, most people pursuing a future in the culinary world have certain things in common—“They like to make people happy, they like the fact that no two days will be the same and they like the instant gratification that comes in these lines of work.”

You’d be hard-pressed to find a more informative and realistic break down of how to begin and fulfill your culinary dreams than though listening to these authors, both of whom have managed the forge their own paths to fulfilling culinary careers.

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