Chef & The City

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By  Chef Charles NYC

Change your Life to do what really excites you : I did. From a corporate career to becoming a Chef/Restuarant Consultant

Hello everyone! This is Chef Charles. I was named Chalaka and so ended up being Charles, Charlie and Chucky to my friends ;). Food and cooking have always intrigued me, yet when I chose a career, it was the less spectacular choice of Marketing Management.  But hey, that was how I came to live in New York City for over ten years of my life. I arrived to follow an MBA in Marketing and fell in love with the city instantly. I made NYC my home and  continued my career in Marketing.

My passion for cuisine though never left me. I kept finding myself working a full week in the corporate world and then plunging into culinary gigs during the weekend, including the underground dining circles in New York. Living in one of the premier culinary melting pots of the world offered me opportunities to work for top catering companies. I took everything that I could learn from and in which I could indulge my growing passion. These included exclusive events for High Fashion brands and celebrities to short stints  in which I worked for top chefs in Michelin star restaurants.  Catering events kept me busy when I had the free time or when I desperately needed a creative gear change from Marketing.

And then it all changed on a beautiful day in the Summer of 2010 when five of my closest friends and I met in Central Park in New York City.

There we were in our 30’s, following great careers we had dreamed of, and apparently living the lives we had envisioned for ourselves. We sat in a circle sipping freshly squeezed juice nibbling on a tasty selection of cheese… toasted sourdough bread with camembert, goat cheese, and turkey and cranberry sandwiches, if I remember correctly. Even though we were living seemingly perfect lives, we all felt that we were missing something. We felt we were caught up in the corporate rat race and getting bored with our jobs and not truly pursuing our passions. We all seemed to agree that life was too short to be working in high-stress corporate jobs when we could be working on our own ventures and pursuing interests that we were truly passionate about.

CTRMy friend, Shiromi, an attractive, fun-loving girl had already taken steps towards her dream and had left her career in Finance to pursue a career in Fabric Design. Her dream was to design for Ralph Lauren.

Hermione – a lively girl with a British accent doing well in Finance – wanted to travel the world and learn history and cooking.

Zubin – a handsome, tall, friendly dude working in Medical Research for an Ivy League university – wanted to be a contemporary interior designer and live in a beautiful paradise-like place by the beach.

James – My friend, the youngest and most conservative of us all, worked in Finance and seemed quite happy, but mentioned that he would like to move into Management Consulting or, perhaps, get an MBA.

I wanted to be a culinary guru: a consultant who traveled the world setting up fabulous restaurants and boutique hotels.

That day, we all continued to dream about quitting our day jobs and moving to the south of France for a year where we would rent a large house and all live together with the sole intention of pursuing our dreams. And even though we did not end up moving to France, a year later…

Zubin completed a diploma in Interior Design and moved to Hawaii; Hermione moved to Thailand to follow a culinary program at the Le Cordon Bleu, James started preparations to be a worthy candidate for a position in Management Consulting, and I took 6 months off to travel the world focusing on International cuisine.

Looking back at that fateful day in the park, it seems like most of us ended up following our dreams. I took 6 months off to travel the world focusing on International cuisine during which time I set up a high-end New York Style Bistro for Asia Capital in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

We certainly made the crucial step to break free and create drastic changes in our lives; certainly, for the best. Stay tuned for my updates on iSrilankan !

Read  About me and Visit my website for more info on my work and concept

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