Culinary School Drop Out

My youngest son’s fascination with pans at an early age may have been an indicator that he would go to culinary school.  He spent just a few months at Oregon Culinary Institute before deciding that he had picked the wrong path.  He came to this conclusion when he missed many days of school in a row because of ice and snow.  I’m really not sure if he even missed classes because I think they were closed due to weather but with such a long break from the daily grind, he realized that what he heard the most at school was, “This is one way to do it but the kitchen you work in may have a different way and they will train you.”


His next adventure was on the Big Island of Hawaii, where once again, he was in a kitchen.  At University of Nations, for a small fee, he was able to serve in the kitchen five days a week in exchange for room and board.  He met people from all over the world and learned that there were many ways to approach feeding others. By the time I visited a few months later, he was supervising a team of people but eager for something more.


Like an artist, he went through different periods.  The tea phase was much more calming than the coffee phase. I gained 10 pounds during his bread phase.  I once read an article in The Oregonian about a family mistakenly eating mushrooms that looked like edible ones and becoming very ill so I abstained during his foraging stage.

One thing that was consistent as he explored was his desire to connect with people through shared experiences.   Now age 20, he’s in Uganda eating a lot of rice and potatoes.  He’s digging in the rich red soil and learning about aquaponics.  Though he may have dropped out of culinary school, he’s dropped into the lives of others and is learning new skills as he invests in sustainable living.



Aquaponics is a mix of aquaculture and hydroponics. Learn more about Aquaponics by watching the informative video at the Fly Fishing Collaborative

While he did drop out of culinary school, he dropped into something much bigger than making a memorable meal for a hungry patron.  My youngest son is now serving others while building skills as he listens to the small still voice of God.  My son believes that God has great plans for him because God’s word says so.  In The New International Version of the Bible in Jeremiah 29:11 it reads,  “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

My son’s future is bright.  While it’s not the path I had planned for him, it’s a very good path.




  1. Teresa,  This is a beautiful tribute to Jacob.  Beautifully thought out, beautifully written.  It made me cry.Thanks for sharing your gift for writing and your intimate feelings about family and the world around you. Teri

    Liked by 1 person

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