Career Change

Whether you fear it or welcome it, career change will likely happen a few times in your life

(page 3 of 4)


George Mavrothalassitis, best known as Chef Mavro, was
trained as an engineer, but his passion was food, so he
changed careers when he was 28 and living in France.
Photo: David Croxford

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.”

Hawaii Business magazine invites you to comment on our articles and the issues they raise. Comments are moderated for offensive language, commercial messages and off-topic posts and may be deleted. Some comments may be chosen for inclusion in the magazine on the Feedback page.

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May 8, 2012 09:17 pm
 Posted by  coachjan

My passion is what led me to each of my careers. Starting out as a PE teacher, transitioning to teaching/coaching gymnastics full time I knew I'd found my true calling. Life circumstances and an injury changed all that and I was forced into a career change. It took a while, however, when I discovered life coaching the passion returned. I now work P/T as a Fitness Specialist and P/T as a Life and Wellness Coach. This combination allows me to play out my passions and work at my best.

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Jul 29, 2012 01:32 am
 Posted by  angelajshirley

A lot of people are being pushed into making some major changes in their career path. After being laid off, sometimes you can get another job in the same field. It may even take relocating to accomplish this. But when you cannot find something in the same field, or cannot relocate - this is the time to be open to change. Bottom line, find out what is needed for the area you are living in and figure out how you can meet this need. Career Counseling

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