Tag-Archive for » Wall Street Journal «

Kathryn Kelly a fascinating study

Having been fortunate to have met some fascinating people on cruise ships, we sometime feel compelled to tell you their story in more than one installment.

Such is the case with Kathryn Kelly.

To passengers on Oceania ships Marina and the new Riviera, and to people in the parent company, she is simply Chef Kelly. Her story is being told here in two parts…today, how she came to play a part in the culinary world, and on Monday, why she does what she does, which is help passengers learn how to cook at the Bon Appétit Culinary Center.

Yes, on a ship.

That part of her story began when a friend, the eminent pastry chef Dieter Schorner — who brought creme brulée to America — said he had an interesting opportunity: Float around the world cooking. Herr Schorner also said he was too old (in his 80s) and that she — at 56 — should do it.

By then, Chef Kelly had paid some dues, or at least earned some credits.

"My whole life," says the lifelong entrepreneur, "I always wanted to be a chef. In my 40s, I had sold my third — and last — company [mergers and acquisitions]. I took six months off. I watched a lot of Bette Davis movies, I walked on the beach and I adopted a dog. Then I had a call from a headhunter who said there was a Fortune 500 company on the West Coast looking for a CEO, and would I be interested. I'd been idle long enough that I would take a look but the minute I put on that suit and pantyhose and headed for the airport, there was no way. I went back home."

Following the obvious phone call, she made another one.

To the CIA…and that's not what you think it is. The Culinary Institute of America.

"I asked if I was too old to come to school, and they said if you can keep up, do it," recalls Chef Kelly. "I was living in Florida. I went to New York for 21 months. I have two Masters and a Doctorate, and cooking school was a helluva lot harder than any of them. I was studying for exams at 50 years old and when I graduated, it was the happiest day of my life."

Her story was impressive enough for the Wall Street Journal to carry a piece about her this summer, as an example of somebody who had made a career change late in her business life, and done it by choice.

"You know the movie Up In The Air, with George Clooney?" she asks. "It made me sad, not because it was a sad movie, but because it was me. I'd been in all those airports. And I had a therapist who told me 'You need to give yourself permission to do what makes you happy.' I knew in two seconds what would make me happy, and what was the worst that could happen? If I get there and find I don't want to be a chef, I quit."

That led her to Oceania, and the job that won't quit.

Monday: Find out why


Carnival Imagination
3 nights
December 7, 2012
Miami (return): Nassau
Inside:  $149
Cost per day: $49
www.carnival.com

  • Categories

  • Archives