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Teenagers and Cooking

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I can't believe that I am actually having the opportunity to talk with one of my culinary heroes right now, so you may have to bear with me if I begin to ramble.............

First, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Ben Wilcox, I'm a 13 year old (freshman in highschool this coming year) who is very interested in cooking. The thing is, I'm not alone. Many teenagers across the country are becoming interested in the culinary arts, and admissions at culinary schools across the country are booming.

What do you think about this, and what do you feel is the cause?

Furthermore, as a person who thinks that being a chef is what I may want to do with the rest of my life (I love it!), what can I do to seperate myself from the pack. I almost feel as though I've been blessed with bad luck in my timing in life :rolleyes: . I've been to cooking camps, read everything I can, and basically grasp all the culinary material I can get my hands on....I'm even trying to find a job ANYWHERE that I could learn anything about food. I think I am too young to be considered seriously, though. So, my question is, what can I do to learn more at my age?

Thanks alot!



If your ever in or around Chicago, stop in for dinner! It would be an honor... :raz::biggrin:

Some people say the glass is half empty, others say it is half full, I say, are you going to drink that?

Ben Wilcox


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hey ben i would say it is premature to feel you have had bad timing in life so far the whole key to the gig is ultimate optimism if life gives you sweetbreads, make ris de veau in meli melo... if you know what i mean before anything read all of elizabethdavid, waverly root, leibling, pellegrino, artusi and jeffrey steingarten and discuss it with your friends, family and teachers then, the first step is to surpass the us labor code for children working i am pretty sure you have to be 16 to have a real paying job outside of agriculture, but who needs pay... 2nd (and this is very crucial... you need to find a truly great one, of which there at least 20 in chicago)find the best restaurant near your house (say topolobampo in chi town) and write the chef a letter saying that you are fully insured, will indemnify the restaurant for personal injury and offer to work 1 day a week, say saturday daytime... for free!!! from the inside it is easier to see if you really love it as much as you think... it is long hard hours, and no one will offer you a tv show, ever///// once you love it, be sure you are getting at least a 3.5 in school and ask for another free work day.....maybe 2 times a month this will get your feet wet and possibly set you up for a paying job when you have the time later in high school... now here is the hardest pill to swallow..... then you have to apply and get into a college... no matter how obvious your career choice seems now you may want to proceed otherwise later in life, so you need to get a higher education... it does not matter so much what you study, but to go to and graduate college!!!! it is key in the development of problem solving strategy for all life in general i studied spanish theater of the golden age.. a real career move!!?? anyway work at the best restaurant near your college throughout the 4 years and then go to work at the best one you can find and start at any level they will have you... at this point you will be 22 and have 4 - 6 years experience in good restaurants, have a college education and have your pick of jobs in the world of food... not the super fast track.. but a great position to be in at a very young age compared to the rest of the salty dawgs in the kitchens you will be slaving in cooking schools??? you will not need them at this point, you will be a cook good luck and call me when you are ready for more tips mb

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