I knew EXACTLY what I wanted to do...
...when I graduated high school. I was going to go to University and get my Classics degree, then it was off to become a "Reconstructive Archaeologist"...that is to say a guy who builds replicas of ancient stuff to find out more about it. I traveled and worked and read and studied and followed that path all the way to my Bachelors (I still have it...wrapped up in the tube they sent it to me in...around here somewhere...somewhere...) I even had a few profs who thought I could pull it off...then I cooked something!
I don't know when it was that cooking began its insidious crawl up to the forefront of my existence. I can't give you a date or time, or person or place...nothing, it kinda happened. I got a job as a servers assistant at a local restaurant, and things happened and they needed help in the kitchen and then I stayed...not really because I fit in...being the only guy in the whole restaurant let along kitchen to be able to read Latin or speak with authority on the political structures of the late bronze age didn't make for a lot of conversation. I was probably the dweeb that most of the pros around here would have laughed at and poked and prodded into crying in a corner like some kind of demented reality show chefs.
I stayed with it, there were several people who took the time to teach me, and to them I will be forever grateful, their lessons have always been in my bones ever since and have been used everyday. I worked and worked, read and learned, and after a brief stint as a professional fencing coach I realized as my best friend at the time put it "...cooking...the reason you were put on this planet..." I was/am a good-ish coach, I was told point blank by a leader in the field of Greek philology that I was NEVER going to make a good Classicist! and I am a pretty good cook...so the choice was pretty easy; not to mention I LOVE the look on someones face when they bite into a dish that they are all sorts of dubious about only to smile and close their eyes as if remembering their first kiss or something (the good kind..not the traumatic..although that can have its moments too!)
I got into it because I have a natural talent for it that has been honed over the years more by the time and invested energy that others have put into me than by my own Machiavellian workings, and despite it all, I love it!