I know i said i would post about JT going to cooking school. And i've been meaning to. I've also been drafting posts in my head as i drift off to sleep. The difficulty is making the post interesting without putting JT in the public eye. If you haven't noticed, this blog is primarily about me and the boys. It is very little about JT and that is largely by design. JT is a very private person and is not interested in putting into the public sphere things he deems private-- which includes just about everything. And yet cooking school was a personal decision for him but also one we very much made and are adjusting to as a family.
So... here goes. First just to catch everyone up, JT has been thinking about cooking school and cooking professionally for about the past three years. During that time he made some professional changes to see if he could find more job satisfaction and used all of his free time to cook, read about cooking and generally become as immersed as possible in the world of professional cooking. Somewhere along the line we started talking about cooking school and a career change for him, but it was one of a few options. And we started saving, and projecting and budgeting (oh wait, that was just me.)
Over the course of those three years JT tried out a few other directions he was considering going in and decided that cooking and food was really where his primary passion lay. He got a few seasons of gardening under his belt, learned the basics of smooth kitchen operation (clean as you go), took over all the meal-planning and shopping and embellished his "routine" meals with things like 14 hour briskets and homemade hot dog buns.
He started researching cooking schools and hallelujah, found a great one here in Chicago. Even better Kendal College has what i call the "Executive Chef" Degree but i think is called something kinda mundane like the "Accelerated" Program. It's shorter and cheaper and designed for folks that already have a degree and don't need basic gen eds. Check, no need for writing 101.
So we set a one-year timetable. We saved almost all the pennies we could, set-up and mostly followed a quarterly "step-down" budget to ease back into living off of my non-profit salary, and began to talk about our plans with friends and family. JT and i talked ad infinitum about the changes we expected, how we'd handle them , and thoughts about how we'd handle what we didn't expect.
JT started in January and by all accounts is very happy-- although he has some work to do in certain areas like deboning fish and Cornish game hens. He loves nothing more than a new challenge and certainly cooking school meets that criteria. He's adjusted to his new 4:15 am alarm clock pretty well and i'm pretty proud of myself for navigating the mornings solo-- not my time to shine historically.
We're still feeling our way through the options, choices and challenges we will face after JT wraps up his program a little over a year from now. But we're taking one steady step in front of the next and just trying to talk-- a lot about all the new issues to sort out and routines to build.
Having seriously less money will be one of the biggest challenges, because of course money provides opportunities and options that not having money doesn't. But it also provokes creativity and simplicity which are values i've become to cherish more often. So we're making sure that we're "providing" for the boys and that they get the benefit of seeing their Dad making a difficult decision to do something that he loves and thinks will bring him happiness. Oh, and he learned how to iron his own stuff after almost 10 years of marriage!