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My career change

by Lorena

I’ve wanted to write this post for a while now because I often get asked questions about it. How did my career change come about? How did I arrive to that decision? What did my friends and family say? Was it hard? Also it’s a nice opportunity for you to know me a little better.

My first career

When I finished high school I had to take the same decision that we all face at that age. “What are you going to study? Have in mind that could determine what you work as for the rest of your life.” It’s a hard choice to make! When I finished high school I was 17 years old. Looking back I felt I was a grownup but I was just a kid.

At that point in time I wanted to be EVERYTHING! It all seemed so interesting. The options that I considered were to be a chef, study business, be a geneticist, dentist or lawyer. Do you realise how different all of them are? That’s how my brain felt because there wasn’t a common thread.

In the end I opted for business studies because it’s a career that I felt would be useful no matter what I ended up doing later on. This turned out to be true because I use everything that I learned to manage this blog which is my passion but also my business. After I graduated I worked for 5 years at a company in Peru which eventually transferred me to Chile where I live today.

I cannot say that I was unhappy working at a company and I was actually doing pretty good. The truth is that I still like my first career and find it extremely interesting. To this day I read articles on business management and specially those related to marketing because I use that constantly to manage Cravings Journal. I even do long and short term planning and have everything very much in order. I keep all my incomes and expenses in an Excel sheet and I make Power Point reports for the clients I work with, etc.

¿What changed?

When I moved to Chile I lived with Luciana, one of my best friends. We had an amazing time together. At one point we had SUCH an amazing time that I gained 9kg (19 pounds), lol. I’m quite small, 1.56cm (5.1ft) tall, so those 9kg were noticeable. Truth be told I gained that weight because with the excitement of living in a new place we went out to eat (and drink) quite a lot! One day I wrote to Luciana on whatsapp (yes, we lived in the same flat but spoke on whatsapp) that I wanted to start to have lunch and dinner in our flat and asked if she wanted to as well.

She said yes and I started to dive into Pinterest looking for yummy recipes that we could make. I would spend hours making our weekly menu. It was so much fun! The first big meal that I cooked was for Luciana’s birthday. I made lomo saltado (a Peruvian dish) and parmesan risotto for 20 people! And for dessert I made Luciana’s favourite: cheesecake. I don’t know how I managed to do that but I loved it! Everyone said it was delicious and I was smiling from ear to ear. It was around those days that I thought “I could do this every single day.”

About a year after moving to Santiago I met Javier who’s my boyfriend to this day (this was more than 4 years ago!). I still remember that when we first started dating he wanted to go out for dinner one night and I said no. I wanted to cook at home and he didn’t understand why. When I served him the dish I had prepared he told me “oh, now I get why you wanted to eat here, you can cook!” Of course it was all a strategy to make him fall in love, lol.

Javi and I worked at the same company and as a matter of fact we both had worked there for the same amount of time. At that point in time we were both at a point where we wanted to change direction. Javi is a civil engineer and wanted to work in startups but didn’t know anything about management. One day while talking about it I said “I have an idea. What if we go abroad and you can do a course on business and I can go to culinary school.” He looked and me and said yes. In this moment in time we had been together for only 3 months.

The career change – Am I really doing this?

Once we made the decision we started to look for the place where we could do this. We both wanted it to be in an English-speaking country. Also I wanted it to be anywhere were there was a Le Cordon Bleu because it was my dream to go there. On the inside I already had my eyes set on London. I have always been pulled by that city, no idea why. When Javi said it was a possibility I jumped and said “YES” a bit too excited.

I remember that on our next trip to Lima we told our parent and they were extremely happy for us. I was lucky that not one person from my close family or friends looked at me funny or judged me in a negative way. They were all really excited that we were doing this. They kept telling us over and over again “if not now, when?”

It was good that it turned out that way because I had enough doubts in my mind. To have other people tell me they though I was making a mistake would’ve been too much. Generally speaking I was extremely happy and at peace with the decision. However on some occasions I was filled with really strong doubts. I thought maybe I made a mistake when I quit my job and a fixed income just for an illusion of mine. I didn’t think this all the time but still when I did it was loud and scary.

Even if my family never said anything negative about our new project you know there’s always going to be a nosy person. Many people asked me “you like to cook THAT much?” As if I was a crazy person! And I would answer “well… yes!” Even if you don’t want to, these words stay in your head. Today standing here I can name 3 people who asked me that 3 years ago. Like I say thankfully there were few of those but still you feel how it affects you a tiny bit.

The birth of this blog

This change is tightly related to the birth of this blog. I started it when I knew that I had been accepted at Le Cordon Bleu London (about 6 months after we took the decision). It started as a way to post my evolution. I never thought it would be what I would do full time in the future. And yet here we are!

Many people ask me if they should change career to cooking or not. The truth is that that’s an answer that I do not have but rather you do. Every career switch has its perks and complications. However I can guarantee two things. 1) You’re going to have to work really hard to get to the same stage that you were in your previous career. 2) If your new career is something that you love and makes you happy then it’s probably the right choice.

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