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The Day After I Graduate Culinary School I Have To Go Gluten Free :(
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I feel so lost now. I spent the last year in culinary school (albeit very sick while there!) Not knowing gluten was the reason I was having so many problems. The day of graduation I got bombarded by flour from everyone as a joke and I think thats what set me off into the ER two days later with breathing probs, sores in my mouth, shakiness etc. Now I feel like I've lost a year of my life and a career I wanted so badly. We don't have any bakeries dedicated to gluten free cooking where I live and being a chef I would have to taste my cooking.. I dunno just wanted to vent I'm really upset over the whole thing I had plans to go to Johnson and Wales and everything.

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I feel so lost now. I spent the last year in culinary school (albeit very sick while there!) Not knowing gluten was the reason I was having so many problems. The day of graduation I got bombarded by flour from everyone as a joke and I think thats what set me off into the ER two days later with breathing probs, sores in my mouth, shakiness etc. Now I feel like I've lost a year of my life and a career I wanted so badly. We don't have any bakeries dedicated to gluten free cooking where I live and being a chef I would have to taste my cooking.. I dunno just wanted to vent I'm really upset over the whole thing I had plans to go to Johnson and Wales and everything.

I have no idea how difficult it is to get a small business loan where you are, but you've just identified a real market need in your area. Gluten Free is a growing market trend, fad or based on actual medical need, baking or savory, and I really don't think you have to give up your career as a chef to make it work. Lest you think you can't do it at a young age, I have a good friend who owns his own landscaping business that's going gangbusters, and he's only 27!

I also have friends online who started their own small baking businesses where they started with gluten free items out of their own homes and sold outside of businesses on the weekdays, and did farmers markets on the weekends. It might be difficult at first to make ends meet, but if cooking is your passion, there are totally ways to make it work with gluten free. It's been done before. I can hook you up on twitter if you're interested?

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That's the first thing I thought of too! Turn this to your advantage! Who knows, you may wind up being the next Food Network star of allergy free cooking!! Put some videos on YouTube! Or perhaps you could be a personal chef to someone who is wealthy and gluten intolerant. Gluten free requests are on the rise. Perhaps a restaurant would need a dedicated gluten free chef and that way you only have to taste what you have control of.

I don't mean to minimize what you're feeling and I think you need time to feel it. But please don't let this control the rest of your life.

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I think saintmaybe totally has the right idea. This gluten-free thing is not going away - because we all know that there's a real need for it. And, trendiness aside, the medical community has identified that gluten is not so good for a large swath of the population, even if they're not dealing with an autoimmune reaction to it like we have. I've also seen gluten linked to obesity, and the suggestion to avoid gluten made as a means of losing weight. I think, given the choice, more and more people would choose gluten-free.

There have to be some opportunities there - in catering, as a personal chef, in a retail bakery, ? You could be the "first mover" in your area as they say in the business world.

P.S.: I'm jealous of your culinary skills. : )

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I am sorry to hear that! It definitely is a shock to find out you have to go gluten-free, and takes some adjustment. Perhaps you should see a doctor and get officially diagnosed to make sure. It probably seems absolutely overwhelming at first, but trust me, it will get better!

However in the words of kwylee, don't let it control your life! I would certainly look at this as a great opportunity - even where I live, (we have 1-2 gluten-free bakeries), people could be doing much more - especially in the restaurant sector. People that need gluten-free food would love to be able to go out to eat and be able to sit in a restaurant and know their food is gluten free. Try looking at it from a positive point of view, and think of where you could take this!! You have the knowledge, you have the desire to cook/bake, and you have the market! Other than money, what more could you ask for?

I know for me, one of the jobs I would absolutely love would be to work at one of the gluten-free bakeries near my house. It seems like such an opportunity to experiment with different foods, create gluten-free versions of regular baked goods, and provide people with yummy (yes, yummy!), safe things to eat.

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OH youtube videos of gluten free cooking.. thats interesting I didn't think of that! I don't think our cottage laws allow us to cook out of our home and sell goods I have to check but I remember something about this being mentioned in school. Where are my notes! :P

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Look at the bright side - living gluten free and being healthly requires being able to cook from scratch. So many people have no idea how to cook so you've already got a leg up! Remember that there is a lot of food that is naturally gluten free. Learn about what foods do and don't contain gluten; learn about gluten free cooking; learn about gluten free baking. Then market yourself to restaurants as being a chef that can cater to diner's dietary needs.

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I agree with the above advice--start your own gluten-free business. Or if you feel like you are not ready for that big step you could check into working at a 100% gluten-free restaurant:

Of course these places all probably have head chefs already but you have to start somewhere (I don't know how it works but I imagine you don't just start out as a head chef right out of culinary school). If they don't have job openings perhaps they would at least allow you to visit and interview so you can get ideas for what it takes to start your own gluten-free restaruant/bakery.

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I feel so lost now. I spent the last year in culinary school (albeit very sick while there!) Not knowing gluten was the reason I was having so many problems. The day of graduation I got bombarded by flour from everyone as a joke and I think thats what set me off into the ER two days later with breathing probs, sores in my mouth, shakiness etc. Now I feel like I've lost a year of my life and a career I wanted so badly. We don't have any bakeries dedicated to gluten free cooking where I live and being a chef I would have to taste my cooking.. I dunno just wanted to vent I'm really upset over the whole thing I had plans to go to Johnson and Wales and everything.

I think you should continue with your dream and cook gluten free. I drive 45 minutes just to get gluten free pies and cakes. There is a huge business opportunity in gluten free baking. I found one women that bakes for a health food store, all gluten free. Don't give up your dream, just modify it. Good Luck.

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So sorry to hear that. Food is my passion as well, so I teach gluten-free cooking classes both privately and at the college. It is a blessing to be skilled with culinary techniques and knowledge when you have celiac, that is for sure. If I had no interest in food things could get boring quickly! So, put your passion into it wholeheartedly. But take the time you need to grieve - it is perfectly natural.

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I think you could be sitting on a gold mine! I had to learn to cook everything from scratch when I went gluten free. I hated to cook, now I love it love it love it! BUT I would give anything to have your background, plus you obviously started out with a passion for food that I had to discover late in life.

Ideas: Gluten free restaurant, gluten free cooking classes, private chef to all those gluten free stars (I would have this if I had the $$$$)...If there isn't a huge need where you are, there are some areas of the world that are very conscious of gluten free and filling that need. I think you'll be fine!

(But I can see where it seems devastating right now) Good luck!

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Phil Vickery in the UK is a gluten free chef, as he is celiac.... so it is possible! There is so much demand for gluten free as people become more aware of the condition. Around 40% of the population carries the genes, and even if you aren't gluten intolerant or celiac there are a lot of people who cut it out for weight loss reasons, diabetes, fybromalgia etc. Well worth looking in to perhaps partnering with other celiacs in your area who are interested in building a business.

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Wow really! All though it might seem like one door is closing, this might actually be opening the door for something else for you. It's okay to let go of a dream and only natural to grief that loss. On the other hand, great that you now know what caused the sores in your mouth. My heart went out to you when I read your post and saw your pictures. Sometimes we have the strangest things happen to us without reasoning. Something tells me you have a wonderful future instore for you. I am so glad to hear that you found the reason for what was causing you to feel so ill.

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