Chef Extraordinaire

Youngest Child is an aspiring chef. He loves to cook, bake, and try new recipes. He has always liked to cook, but he took Foods class last semester and that really sealed the deal. He does a good job too! He follows a recipe well and has a good palate.

So this weekend for youth group they held a ramen cooking contest. It turned out to be only boys who showed up. What’s up with that?! As soon as he heard about the contest he wanted to enter. And he had the perfect recipe! It was part of the cookbook he put together in Foods class. He and Hubby bought the groceries and he did some prep work. At youth group they all worked on their own dishes. He did fabulously! Took first place! He was pretty exited:). And I’m a proud Momma! So, I think he definitely has an aptitude for cooking.

BUT. I don’t want him to be a chef. Does that make me a bad Mom? Let me explain why before you judge me. I’ve worked in restaurants; waiting tables, cocktail waitress. I’ve also worked in fast food and retail stores. The reality is, that type of career is not conducive to having a family. People really like to eat out evenings, weekends and holidays. You know, when you want to be with your family. Its hard work and long hours. I don’t want that for him.

I want him to find a career that makes him happy, and will continue to do so long-term. I think he’s too young (he’s 13) to fully understand the ramifications. I think a lot of high school and college students don’t get that. I don’t remember having this conversation with anyone as I was trying to decide what to be “when I grow up.” It never entered my mind. I thought you just figure out something you like doing and it will all be good. I feel a sense of urgency to help my boys understand that its bigger than that thing they like to do. We spend such a huge part of our lives working – it needs to be a good fit with our lifestyle. I’m sure I feel so urgent because it hits close to home. I work in a non-profit and have a very family-friendly work schedule. There are seasons {especially fundraising seasons} when we work crazy long hours, but most of the time not. And I have the flexibility to attend programs and functions during the day when necessary. I love that about my job. {That’s not the only thing I love – but that’s for another post.} Hubby, on the other hand,  manages a bakery inside a retail grocery store. He works every weekend, every holiday and goes in at 4 am. Not a family-friendly job. But he loves the work that he does – baking!

So. I don’t want Youngest Son to be a chef. I want him to find a way to use his passion for cooking that allows him to have the quality of life he wants. Maybe he would be happy being the parent who does all the cooking. Maybe cooking for his family will be that thing that feeds his soul. I know of quite a few men who really enjoy doing this. Or maybe he combines his love of cooking with his math and science aptitude to work in test kitchens or formulating recipes. There has to be a solution and I think it’s my job as a parent to help expose him to options.

And, if after exploring these different options and really thinking it through he still wants to be a chef? I’ll live with that and hope his future wife can too:). I will also rest better knowing he went into it with his eyes wide open.

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1 Comment

Filed under Advice, Family, Lifestyle, Parenting

One response to “Chef Extraordinaire

  1. Cindy Neely

    Encourage him to keeping cooking! He may marry someone like me who doesn’t like to and doesn’t know how to cook. Those skills will come in handy for his family! Also, my son’s college roommate is majoring in Food Science in college….a field with lots of options. He hopes to work in food development and research at a major food company like Kraft, Nestle, etc. Needs a strong science background!!

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