Total cherry chiming in
I am also someone looking at a career change that takes me into gunsmithing. I just wanted to chime in and say how helpful this thread has been for me.
I am currently just getting started in the process. I am planning on taking courses at Lassen College in California (one of the NRA Gunsmithing schools). They have what looks like a pretty good series of classes taught in 1 week chunks that seem to have a good reputation.
If the former chef ever wants to toss ideas around with someone generally on the same path, feel free to get in touch.
My previous career (well... the one I am in right now - I am actually at work as I post this) is with Apple Computer.
Anyway, thought I would toss that out there and thank everyone who has contributed.