I know more now, than when I owned my own restaurant
I've always cooked in restaurants. Learned plenty. Then I had my own for 20 years. I became very good at what I did....but after I sold it, worked for catering places and read a lot, I know 10 times more than I did before. Anybody relate?
Exactly my experience although I didn't have mine as long as yours. In a way it's just as well. Had I known how make classic French stocks and sauces back then I'm sure no one would have been able to stand working for me. LOL Now I 'SV' and am interested in basically replicating 'Escoffier' dishes for the challenge and the amazing flavors/textures/appearance.
It's one of my hobbies.
I was a catering chef during the '80s. I know a lot more now. I never braised anything thenadays, and the only vegetables I roasted were potatoes.
I tried being a line cook twice, and hated it. I don't have the hand-eye coordination. I also suck at baseball. But give me a major event for 800 to plan and execute in advance, no problem.
I think that can be said of any enthusiastic, engaged cook. For me, that's a big part of the allure--always being able to learn something new. Being a resto cook, owner or even having a culinary education doesn't take the place of a lifetimes' worth of experience, it just alters the learning curve.
I was a great cook when I was 20, but I'm a much better one now, and I suspect I'll have the same observation in another 10 or 20 years.