Nothing wrong with using recipes for cooking, but to cook successfully, one should understand recipes are guidelines, used with good judgement which comes with experience that may include some training. My suggestion to take some cooking classes was primarily made so one could get some professional feedback. Then you should understand where your skills are. Many people are good cooks, many think they are but in reality they are not...I see it everyday as a chef instructor.
Hmmm this is interesting. I have not never taken a cooking lesson, although I watched lot chefs preparing dishes when I was younger. I learned how to cook initially by necessity becasue I can't afford meal plan in school. Slowly cooking has become an art for me, somehow I intuitively know what to do. Like in organic chemistry lab, I learned the basics and I heaped forward. We go to eat a lot, and find some dishes we like. Using reverse engineering, I usually can reproduce what they have. Of course searching in the internet helps to finalize the starting point. We used to entertained lot of guests, so I know our food are good.
I dreamed of opening a restaurant one day, even have a name for it. But so many things to do with so little time, I must limit my vision. However, my family know all about this restaurant franchise. It will be the first in the nation. So the dream lives on.
Occasionally I flipped thru the Channel and find someone demonstrating cooking. Sadly these individuals could not even know how to handle the kitchen utensil and let alone make a decent dish. It was a turn off for me. Therefore, I thought the cooking school is just like that. (No disrespect to T37Chef, I think he is the real thing). I am just a cook. It only serves the purpose of cooking for myself, family and guests. Now it expends to serve the captain and the crews I sail with. Because of this and by the words of mouth, I have picked up many sailing opportunities. Like looking for jobs, one must distinguish himself from the masses. Knowing how to prepare meals day after days in rough sea without getting burned helps.
Of course, I don't beleive I can make a living as a professional chef on land.