Whether you fear it or welcome it, career change will likely happen a few times in your life
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George Mavrothalassitis, best known as Chef Mavro, was
Raised in the French port of Marseille, George Mavrothalassitis, now known internationally by his nickname, “Chef Mavro,” came from a family in which no one cooked. His father hired a family cook and young Mavro hung out with him in the kitchen.
“One day, when I was on vacation from school, I decided to cook for the family. It took me all day and I followed a recipe book very precisely and made a tripe dish,” he recalls. “It was a huge success and everyone loved it. I knew I wanted to cook for a living.”
But his father was a mechanical engineer and wanted his son to become one, too. Mavro put his dreams on the back burner, graduated from engineering school and specialized in making helicopter parts.
“It was at the height of the Vietnam War and there was a great need for these helicopter parts, so, at 28 years old, I became very rich and successful with my own engineering company,” recalls Mavro. “Then, I can’t explain why, but I woke up one morning and decided to tell my business partner, ‘I don’t want to do this anymore.’ I wanted to be a cook. My wife at the time, my mother and my family said, ‘Are you crazy?’ ”
Ignoring their concerns, armed with cash and not knowing anything about the restaurant business, he hired one of France’s top chefs and the country’s best sommelier, and opened a high-end restaurant. Two years later, all the money he had earned over six years as an engineer was gone.
“I still wanted to cook, so I decided I needed to apprentice in the kitchen under the chef I had hired. It took me six years to gain the skills to take over. I learned how to do everything, from polishing the coffee pot, cleaning the kitchen, cleaning the fish to cooking.”
Although Mavro did not do the research before delving into a new career, he knew that cooking was his passion.
“Everyone should be in a job that they’re passionate about,” says Inkinen. “It would be wonderful if we could all work with what our hobbies and interests are. These are good places to look for job change.”
Mavro says his engineering training helped him as a chef. “My sense of precision helps me. I am very good at pastries and that takes a lot of detail,” he says. “I attribute that precision to my engineering background.”
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