A Pastry Chef Ditches Desserts for Data Analysis


Chris Pariso grew up in New Hampshire in a household the place everybody beloved to prepare dinner. After highschool, he educated at an area affiliate of the celebrated Le Cordon Bleu culinary college and have become a pastry chef.

However after greater than 5 years within the kitchen, he realized he wished to “do extra with my life than bake cookies and brownies all day lengthy.” Right now, the 37-year-old Mr. Pariso is a knowledge analyst on the company safety staff at


a analysis and advisory agency. However beginning afresh in 2008—when the worldwide economic system was cratering—was scary. “I used to be very nervous. All the things had tanked,” he stated.

On the time, Mr. Pariso was an assistant pastry chef with a giant bakery provider. He didn’t get pleasure from baking anymore and was worn out by the grueling hours and their toll on his girlfriend. “It’s actually arduous to have a significant relationship once you’re working 70 hours every week and also you’re exhausted once you come dwelling,” he stated.

Mr. Pariso making a gingerbread log cabin for a vacation show throughout his first profession as a chef.


Chris Pariso/Julie Bidwell for The Wall Avenue Journal

His subsequent profession, he determined, ought to faucet his mathematical aptitude and curiosity in felony justice. That might require larger schooling—and extra time than his culinary-arts course, which took lower than a 12 months. At age 25, he recalled, “right here I’m, strolling away from a longtime profession to return to high school, doubtlessly saddle myself with a bunch of debt after which dive into an unknown job market.”

He enrolled in Northern Essex Neighborhood Faculty in Haverhill, Mass., to pursue an affiliate’s diploma. His bosses let him work weekends and shifts between morning and evening courses in the course of the week. In his first semester, Mr. Pariso juggled work and three courses. He bumped it as much as 5 as soon as he acquired the hold of faculty once more. “I didn’t need this taking 5 or 6 years to get occurring a brand new profession,” he stated.

He graduated and left the bakery provider on the finish of 2012. He moved to Connecticut to attend the College of New Haven and to be nearer to his girlfriend, who was residing in a New York Metropolis suburb. They married the next 12 months and Mr. Pariso studied for a bachelor’s diploma in felony justice at UNH. He accomplished this system in 2½ years and spent two extra incomes a grasp’s in investigations.

He cobbled collectively financial savings, scholarships and pupil loans to pay the payments. UNH supplied him a full-time administrative job at its analysis institute, waiving tuition for his last semester as an undergraduate in addition to his graduate research. After ending his grasp’s, Mr. Pariso felt he had “plateaued” in his technical mission supervisor place on the college. He started looking job web sites and wrote a pc script that scraped on-line openings that matched his key phrases.

In April 2019, he landed the job at Gartner, the place he displays and experiences on world developments that might have an effect on the agency. Some days he may be assessing cybersecurity dangers; on others, he’s digging into issues of potential fraud or inner waste. He additionally develops fashions to forecast the corporate’s growth. “I’m the resident knowledge/analytic nerd, and beat issues with the maths stick as wanted,” Mr. Pariso stated. Because the spring, he has been working from his Ridgefield, Conn., dwelling, and expects to proceed remotely till fall 2021.

His new subject has higher hours—and twice the pay he made as a pastry chef, he stated. He and his spouse, who’s an adjunct professor at LIM Faculty in Manhattan, have a 16-month-old son and a daughter who is sort of 3.

Mr. Pariso enjoys cooking and baking once more, for his household. Habits he discovered as a chef, reminiscent of “working calmly beneath irritating, time-sensitive conditions,” are helpful in his job, he stated. Expertise “in open kitchens has given me some nice interpersonal abilities, whether or not I’m interacting with co-workers, C-suite executives, distributors or people I’m interviewing for a safety matter,” he stated.

What’s extra, Mr. Pariso added, pre-pandemic, “bringing in baked items for a potluck or birthday by no means damage both.”

Reboot Replace

Identify: Chris Pariso

Age: 37

Location: Ridgefield, Conn.

Schooling: B.S. in felony justice, College of New Haven; M.S. in Investigations, White Collar Crime focus, College of New Haven.

Former Job: Pastry chef

New Job: Information analyst at Gartner, a analysis and advisory agency.

Aha second: “This was extra of a gradual smoldering moderately than a sudden explosion”—the results of frustration over grueling hours mixed with “desirous to make some type of change in my life.”

Most necessary piece of recommendation for altering jobs: Plan! “From deciding I wished to do one thing to pulling the set off was in all probability a full 12 months. In that point, I used to be researching what jobs have been on the market….So that you go on Monster or Certainly, have a look at the job you need to have, say, 5 years down the road, have a look at the necessities. OK, that’s your syllabus, that’s your plan of action.”

Write to Ray A. Smith at [email protected]

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