I was meant to be a pastry chef and knew this from the time I was maybe 8 years old. While my friends were reading Judy Blume, I was reading cookbooks. When it was raining and my friends were playing games or watching tv, I was making cakes and messes in the kitchen.
I wanted to go to a culinary school for college, and was guided instead to first get a liberal arts degree. Two colleges and six years later, I found myself standing behind a counter in a small bakery in Burlington, VT, selling cookies and freshly baked loaves of sourdough bread.
I wore an apron just like the bakers behind the glass windows separating me from the kitchen, but mine wasn’t getting dirty. Within days, I nudged my way into the pastry kitchen and offered to wash dishes in exchange for the privilege of watching the pastry chef do her thing. If the first thing I sold was a cookie and a loaf of bread, the second thing I sold was myself and my time. It was worth it.
I drove to that bakery in the middle of the night for two weeks and washed dishes and helped the pastry chef, all off the clock. I learned what biscotti was, the basics of croissant dough, and how to make scones and cookies. Fourteen days into this arrangement, I showed up for work and waited in the dark parking lot for the pastry chef to arrive. Minutes passed by, and her car never appeared. I knew things had to get going in order to be ready for the early morning rush, so I got out of my car, tied on an apron, and started baking.
The pastry chef never returned, and that day I was hired to run the one-person pastry department.
24 years later, I have founded and owned two bakeries and continue to sell cookies, biscotti and more. 24 years later, when I tie on my apron and join my team in the kitchen, I am filled with gratitude for that job selling bread and pastries many lifetimes ago.
Make 2018 your year.
Follow your dreams. Find your passion and do what fills you with joy. The rest will fall into place.