A Relocation Could Be The Answer

Raul started culinary school a couple of years ago and racked up $40,000 in student loans. He has the opportunity to go to school for something else but isn't sure what would be best in this economy.

QUESTION: Raul in Los Angeles has bad credit and is financially challenged. He started culinary school a couple of years ago and racked up $40,000 in student loans. He has the opportunity to go to school again for something else but isn’t sure what would be best in this economy. Dave suggests looking outside of California for his career.

ANSWER: I’m just big on taking what you love to do and figuring out a different way to do it than everyone else is doing it in order to make a living. There are a lot of people who don’t make a decent living in radio, but I figured out a way to do that. There are a lot of people who write books and don’t make a living doing that, but I figured out a way to do that. I’m not saying I’ve got it all figured out; I don’t. It’s taken a lot of time and a lot of sacrifice and a lot of other things to get over the hump on that. One thing that pops immediately into my mind is maybe Southern California is not the answer.

You’ve tried California with your wife, and now she’s got to try something else with you. That’s part of the give and take. I’m not against California, but if that’s not going to be a place that you can live out your dream, then you’ve got to move to a place where you can. Maybe there are other ways or other things you can do in California with your cooking skills that isn’t simply just a sous chef third down the food chain—no pun intended—in the kitchen barely getting by just above minimum wage after having spent all this money to learn how to chop onions. That really wasn’t what you did. You really learned how to do food as artistry.

Some catering and some private chef work might be an entré into getting your income way up, and it might even open the door up to a big-time restaurant gig of some kind versus just trying to work your way up from the mail room, so to speak, meanwhile starving to death. That’s the kind of thing that pops into my head. I know a lady who does some private chef work in our area, and I’m in Nashville, so we’ve got a lot of the music people around here and that kind of thing. She’ll do work for them, and she does very well doing that, especially considering it’s usually an evening gig and then she’s got the rest of her day to do something else. She does some straight catering and some of that stuff during that time of day. I guess thinking about other ways to use your skill and live your dream is one thing. The other thing is the possibility of a move and/or both.

One good piece of news about you being the private chef in your area is you’ve got what I’ve got in this area. There’s a lot of star power, and if you could ever get in with one of them… Offer to cook free for them a couple of times for different ones who are name people if they’ll use you in the future and tell their friends about you—that kind of thing. They furnish the supplies, and other than that, you furnish all the labor. Then you just go in and wow their dinner party with their friends. You could really turn that into a pretty lucrative thing.

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