From Lawyer to Professional Chef: The Story of Bobby Rahman

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The Story of Leaving Lawyer Practice to Become a Chef at One of Canada’s Most Well-Known Restaurants: The life story of Bobby Rahman, a lawyer who left practice behind and became an award winning chef. How did this happen? What was it like working different jobs than expected? Can someone make such drastic changes as well as have success doing so? 

Bobby Rahman, a 28-year old lawyer from Ontario, Canada, had been practicing law for five years when he realized that his job was not fulfilling. He says “I was at the top of my game but I wasn’t happy.”

Bobby was always interested in food and cuisine, but his father wanted him to become a lawyer. He says “I think my dad wanted me to be a lawyer because he was a lawyer. I can’t remember him ever suggesting that I do anything else.”

After much thought and consideration, Bobby made the decision to leave his practice and go back to school. He enrolled in culinary school at the Institute of Culinary Education and quickly realized that this is his passion.

From the first day he stepped into culinary school he realized the differences between his past and future profession. He says “I felt like I was home. It made so much sense to me.”

He went on to say that he is grateful for his past practice, but now he is happy and knows where his passions lie.

Bobby Rahman remembers the moment when he left law school and started culinary school as one of the happiest days in his life. He said “It’s just always been my dream to be a chef, ever since I can remember.”

We sat down with Bobby and asked him a few questions about his career choice. Read the full interview bellow:

What inspired you to become a chef?

Bobby Rahman: Over the years I have come to find flavors more and more intriguing, and once I was introduced to a culinary career, the idea became an obsession.

Growing up in restaurants makes it likely that a person will develop some interest or curiosity in food. Developing this new passion has been very exciting for me

To say “I love cooking” would be an understatement – I am completely fascinated with all things food related!

The first time my mom tried her hand at baking our birthday cake after having just watched a youtube video, she said she had no regrets for letting go of her therapist job to let us try our luck as entrepreneurs instead. It’s way too early yet to tell if we’ll succeed but either way it’s nice knowing that I have her support.

What’s the main difference between being a lawyer and a professional chef?

Bobby Rahman: The main difference is the scope of most chefs’ work. In general, a chef is responsible for choosing and acquiring ingredients, preparing food in accordance with recipes and providing menu-planning to meet customer needs. Furthermore, for those who choose to make this a lifelong career, many will open their own restaurants which they must oversee on a daily basis while also ensuring it remains profitable for their operation–a tall task indeed.

The scope of lawyers’ work is much more limited (although when we look at some attorneys even then there can be much variety). Generally speaking though, lawyers often spend their days indoors interacting quite closely with computers or clients from behind a desk.

From your experience – do lawyers and chefs have anything in common?

Bobby Rahman: The similarities are that they both have to wear white clothes at their respective jobs, but the differences are that lawyers get to be in a courtroom and chefs get to try different ingredients all the time. In addition, law is academic whereas food is experiential.

Lawyers need a blend of intellectual aptitude and excellent writing skills when it comes to defending a client’s position concerning precedent or logic. Competent chefs require knowledge about how cooking affects flavors (about which there’s really not much dispute), along with deep chops in areas like knife skills and sautéing; as well as an emotional vocabulary or “the feel” for what customers want using any number of available channels.

Would you ever go back to practicing law again?

Bobby Rahman: Thanks for asking! Absolutely not. I found my passion as a chef. I’m so grateful that I ventured out of law, even though it was terrifying at the time. It just goes to show “don’t be afraid to change careers or go back to school!” If you’re like me with high paying corporate jobs in your past, but you want something different, don’t wait for big changes before making small ones together–leave some room between where you are and where you want to be because life is unpredictable!

We’re so glad that we had the opportunity to interview Bobby and learn more about his interesting story.

After the interview Bobby also added “I’m so glad I made the decision to change my career from lawyer to chef. I couldn’t be more happier. With the help of culinary school, I now have a foundation for my life’s passion and skills to build on. It was amazing that not only did they teach me cooking techniques like butchering chickens but also how to open up restaurant spaces– something law had never prepared me for!

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