Lawyer Quits To Chop Garlic


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raincool2005

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#1
Passion rules.

HE went from a high-flying legal counsel earning more than $6,000 a month, to a lowly kitchen helper earning $800 a month - more than an 80per cent pay cut.

Ask Mr Willin Low about eating humble pie and he reminisces with a knowing smile and some fondness.

He quit his job of eight years in 2004 to fulfill his dream of becoming a chef and owning his own restaurant.

Mr Low now owns Wild Rocket restaurant and Wild Oats bar, both located at Mount Emily.
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Speaking to The New Paper on Sunday at his three-month-old bar, he said: 'When I first quit my job as a legal counsel about three years ago, I got a job at Garibaldi's, chopping garlic, washing dishes, that sort of stuff.'

As he was a self-trained cook with no experience in the food and beverage industry, the aspiring chef and restaurateur had to start from scratch.

He was there for six months.

'I did wonder before I started whether I'd be able to swallow my pride if needed, as I was essentially starting from the lowest position in the kitchen, when I was already quite established in my law career.'

With an apartment mortgage to support on the meagre pay, Mr Low had to do freelance law consultations for various companies after work in order to pay his bills and for his everyday expenses.

As a kitchen-helper, the days were certainly long - 'they were 14 to 16-hour workdays in the kitchen, after which I worked from my laptop at home', but as it turned out, Mr Low 'loved it', even though 'I was tired all the time, had no social life and the hot kitchen can be stressful place for a newbie'.

GAVE UP $6,000 SALARY

'At some points, I wished I hated it because then, I would have been able to put my dream of opening a restaurant to rest and go back to being a lawyer,' Mr Low said, with a laugh.

When he quit his job of eight years in 2004, Mr Low was already earning more than $6,000 a month.

But even when he was still practising law, the law degree holder from the University of Nottingham in the UK would offer his services as a private chef on weekends.

'I would cook for private dinners at other people's homes and my colleagues would be my waiters and waitresses,' he recalled.

Finally, when he saved up enough to start Wild Rocket with two silent partners, he realised there were a lot of other challenges.

'We had to look for suppliers from scratch, build relationships with them and basically meander through a lot of government processes during our start-up phase,' Mr Low said.

Now, with his restaurant doing well, Mr Low takes on a more managerial and creative role.

And although his salary is still only half of what he used to make in the corporate world, he's starting to enjoy little perks in life, like his spanking new white Suzuki Swift which was delivered on Friday.

'Looking back, I would've been intimidated had I known the full extent of what it took to realise my dream. So, maybe it was a good thing I didn't know that much then,' MrLow admitted.

'But really, I'm the kind of person who would rather regret what I've done than what I've not done.'

:cool:
 

dancemania

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Oct 1, 2006
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#2
My goodness! Why are so many people doing this? Meanwhile, some of us still struggle to keep afloat. Some of us cannot even get a job- be it a high or low paying job.
 

raincool2005

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i think this guy has saved up a huge sum of money thru the years of working in a bank.

even u want to set up business, u need captial and a plan B.

;)
 

Del_CtrlnoAlt

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Feb 15, 2003
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#7
he is working as a legal counsel... maybe else where also.
very talented lah...

really like what old ppl say to good wives... now applicable to him...

近得了厨房
出得了厅堂

add 1 more for him

前炒股票顶呱呱
后炒肉菜定江山

hahaha... so poetic today... :bsmilie:
 

josho

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#8
He can afford to do that.. since the main interest of cooking is there, dun forget he earn alot as a lawyer thou hence got the capital to open the resturant. If not... like me.. daydream.. (dream on) haha
 

raincool2005

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very talented lah...

really like what old ppl say to good wives... now applicable to him...

近得了厨房
出得了厅堂

add 1 more for him

前炒股票顶呱呱
后炒肉菜定江山

hahaha... so poetic today... :bsmilie:
$6000 a month is very good pay for many.
 

Del_CtrlnoAlt

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#10
He can afford to do that.. since the main interest of cooking is there, dun forget he earn alot as a lawyer thou hence got the capital to open the resturant. If not... like me.. daydream.. (dream on) haha
you and i can go open drinks stall next time lor... with the type of dreams that we often make... :bsmilie:
 

josho

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#13
dunno leh, i believe alot here earn 5 figure per month lor... i chao chao do a search also see a few saying on the forum say they earn 5 figure liao... i not surprise later they say 6 figure...
Depressing... haha.. thik our sugarcane come reach 5figure per mth. hahaha
 

Del_CtrlnoAlt

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#15
After reading this inspiring story perhaps we'll find some photographers joining the restaurants to work in the kitchens. :)
nah... i think lawyer drop to chop garlic...

Photographers will go road sweeping... cos its a form of art, then later divine, become caligraphy artist... :thumbsup:
 

Benign

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Jan 30, 2004
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#16
Don't think it is a big deal these days........

There are people who decide to 'step down' or walk away from the hustle and bustle of life lor :bsmilie:

Anyway lawyer is one of the most stressful job out there.
 

#17
No risk no gain. Good for him.
You are right on that count. When you read how some of our forumers here reply or view it..they see this as being silly. But doing so...yo ujust prove what our govt say is true about us...not willing to take risk...you want the good life but you not willing to take risk. In these day and age....only the daring will make not just the difference but will come out winners more times then someone who just take the safe route..hoping on hope something drops on theri lap for "their" hardwork.

I have ate at his restaurant Wild Rocket twice and I can say...he will make it if not already. Maybe his non-training in cooking is what make his style so difference and fresh. But the thing most folks need to see is that this is a guy who don't just dream but he work hard at having something to fall back on..which is a law degree and then once he has that in reserve he can go try something he has a passion for...which is cooking.

And for those who might not recall, the law "business" was taking a hammer for a couple of years recently. And not many lawyers were hired. And if they were, they have lower starting pay and some don't even have bonus. That is rare but it did happen. If more lawyers ventured out...well..they were force too. And when you look at it...how many of us are already feeling that happen to us...and we are not in those elite professional. Now...even some of them are feeling it. So you either learn to swim or die.

There is one thing I learn in life and that holds firm till today, if you have passion and your job is what involves your passion, success is not far behind. If you take up a diploma or degree for something you don't like but becasue your parents or peero pressure force you to take it up...you will be good but you will never be great.

I say good for Willie!

Let those who want to go be a band boy or some extreme skateboard...etc.. That kind of stuff is fine as some hobby and not something you do by cutting school. Make sure you study well..get your backing first to make you the money ...then you live your dream.
 

raincool2005

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#20
you and i can go open drinks stall next time lor... with the type of dreams that we often make... :bsmilie:
It is not easy to be a hawker. Wake up early to buy things and prepare the food, work until 10-11pm closing still must do washing, this goes on from Monday - Sunday... even holidays, no CPF.. no medical benefits.. no bonus... work is hot, sweaty.. no air-con..

Years back, i did food stall business before in National Stadium. One football match can earn about $3000-$4000. It is a lot of physical work.
 

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