Food Job: TV Star

Today, one hundred million households can tune into the Food Network. There are stations in New York, Atlanta, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Detroit, and Knoxville. There are viewers in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Korea, Thailand, Singapore, Philippines, Monaco, Polynesia, and Great Britain. More people watch the Food Network than CNN. It no longer aims to teach cooking techniques or kitchen skills. Instead, it has lurched into the production of cooking shows featuring the assembly of store-bought components, and of cooking-competition shows that choose winners and losers. It also has an unfathomable addiction to cup cakes.

What is turning this huge audience on to all of it’s culinary idols, as featured on the Food Network though my impression is that Guy Fieri takes up 23 of the 24 hours a day. (Maybe many people like him?) Vast swaths of people appear to have the time to watch others cook and eat, and exclaim how good it all smells—but to have no time to cook for themselves. Continue reading

Job Hunting in the Right Direction

One of the first steps to take when food job hunting is deciding where you want to live.

A friend decided to move from a cold climate to a warmer home. He began by making a list of all the things important to him.

He wanted to settle in a temperate climate, not too cold or too hot region of the country. (This ruled out Alaska and Arizona.)

His work required a lot of travel so he needed to be close to a small airport that he could get to quickly and easily without a hassle. (This ruled out Chicago’s O’Hare Airport, Hartfields-Jackson Airport in Atlanta and several other big cities.)

He is interested in the performing arts so he wanted to be in a city with a cultural center.

He has a medical problem so access to an excellent hospital was essential.

He hoped to find an old house and garden that he could restore–and buy at a price that wouldn’t be too wildly costly.

He divided a map of the United States into regions and researched each one in his hunt for a place that fulfilled all his wishes.

He settled in Louisville, Kentucky, and is completely happy with his decision. It has a lovely climate, a small airport, reasonable real estate prices, a terrific performing arts center, a great hospital and incomparable fried chicken and barbecue as well as several other first rate restaurants.

In short, there are two ways to approach a hunt for a job. One is to choose a place where you want to live and then look for work. The other is to find the work and be willing to relocate to the place of employment.

Only you can decide which direction to take.


Ask Irena

I’m back!

I’ve been devoting every minute to writing MORE FOOD JOBS: A Compendium of Careers and Commentaries. This completely new book will be published by Beaufort next spring.

And I’ve been thinking and thinking about WHAT’S NEXT?

I love being a mentor.

What is a mentor?

The role of mentor involves a serious commitment to listening… and hearing… and understanding the words that are spoken are not necessarily a reflection of what a seeker is seeking.

A mentor draws on past experience and up to date information to make connections between present practical realities and future ambitions and goals.

The mentor can smooth a path by making suggestions about a career path that may not have been previously considered or even known to exist.

The dean for medical education at The University of Chicago explains, “Memes”, (mentors) are the cultural analogues to genes, serving as a basis for explaining the spread of idea, values, and beliefs from one generation to the next. In serving as a mentor, one has the privilege of sharing knowledge, expertise, insight and experience in a similar fashion, which can ultimately affect generations far beyond the most immediate recipient.”


A mentor is someone who sees more talent and ability within you, than you see in yourself, and helps bring it out of you.”

Bob Proctor
Author, Speaker and Success Coach

Lots of people limit their possibilities by giving up easily. Never tell yourself this is too much for me. It’s no use. I can’t go on. If you do you’re licked, and by your own thinking too. Keep believing and keep on keeping on.”

Norman Vincent Peale
1898-1993, Pastor, Speaker and Author

The greatest good you can do for another is not just to share your riches
but to reveal to him his own.

Benjamin Disraeli

Ask me a question about your culinary career.


Finding a Food Job

I teach a course on love affairs. I am a matchmaker of food jobs. If you know what you love to do, not what you have to do, it is time to act and not wait a minute more.

We have way too many choices so it is difficult to narrow the options to a precious few. Eventually, you can make a decision and move forward after coolly examining your options.

After all, think of the number of significant others who pass through your life before you find and embrace your beloved.

Think how often we all make wrong turns before arriving at our destination.

Think of sailors who understand the navigational concept: that we almost never go directly from point A to point B. Instead, we set a course, periodically take readings of our position, then make adjustments to the very head winds which threaten to overturn our boat.

Some are threatened by changes: others are challenged by them. But like it or not, we must accept an irrefutable truth: everything around us is changing — fast!

Each of us must chart our own journey and hope we can use our past experience to propel us into the future.

Yesterday I spoke to a young culinary student who told me, with some passion, that she hates her job and hates the place where she is living. She hates her long commute. She hates the long, cold winters in New York. She said she wants to move to Florida but can’t because her grandmother will be upset.

Her grandmother is 66 years old. She believes she needs to stick to her horrible life until her grandmother dies.

I asked, “But, what if your grandmother lives to be 96?”

No problem. It’ll just be 30 years wasted…Meanwhile, there may a food job waiting for her near a beach in Florida. She just needs to put her toe in the water. And send her grandmother a plane ticket to visit…occasionally.