Today we’re hearing from our own Jodi Liano. The founder of SF Cooking School, Jodi talks to each and every prospective student, many of whom are looking to culinary school as a way to change direction. As a career changer herself, she knows all about that. Here’s a look into Jodi’s own journey into the culinary world, and how she landed at SFCS.
I had a mid-life crisis. Not the stereotypical one: no fast cars, infidelity, or plastic surgery involved. In fact, to say I was “mid life” is a stretch in and of itself but at the time I was older than I’d ever been, and back then 29 seemed old.
Having worked in tech for eight years, I had a good thing going. The paycheck, great benefits, and an industry that was moving faster than I could possibly imagine were counter-balanced with working 24/7 and having a job that was all encompassing in every way possible. This was fine at first. I’d just finished college and was that student who wanted nothing more than a secure job to start the day after graduation. I threw everything I had into it, got promoted quickly, and really loved what I was doing. I stayed with one company for seven years before I was hired at a start up as the director of advertising. That start up would go on to be one of the biggest companies on the Internet but back in 1997, who knew?
Cooking was something I did for myself, my friends, and with my family anytime I had a spare moment. I loved eating out and had subscribed to Bon Appetit and Food & Wine since I learned to read. So, when I took the job at the start up I rewarded myself with a one week cooking vacation with Giuliano Bugialli in Tuscany. By the time I got there I’d already spent six months in my new job. Truth be told, I didn’t love it but I certainly wasn’t looking for any kind of change.
As I sat in this farmhouse, surrounded by late summer produce, I watched Bugialli explain his method for making a perfect Panzanella salad (stale Tuscan bread, sweet ripe tomatoes, torn fresh basil) and a few more items from the garden. The light bulb went off! “Wait,” I thought, “That’s his job — teaching people how to make food? What the hell am I doing in an office?”