Contrary to popular belief, nobody is born a celebrity chef. Gordon Ramsay didn't come out of the womb holding a spatula. Buddy Valastro didn't immediately know how to make his famous Carlo's Bakery desserts. Being a chef takes some serious work, and many of these celebrity chefs were still living off ramen and bussing tables in college. So don't worry if you're dreaming of being a culinary genius while you scribble down notes on the American Revolution; most of these chefs had no idea what they were doing at 21-years-old either.

1. Jamie Oliver

He might be known as the "Naked Chef," but Jamie has always been dressed to kill. At the ripe age of 16, Jamie made the bold decision to leave school to train at Westminster Catering College. Five years later, he was already in the process of signing on to do his first TV show. Honestly, the only time I come close to that sort of determination is when I'm trying to unscrew a jar of peanut butter. Kudos to you, Jamie.

2. Nigella Lawson

With the success that her books have achieved, you would never guess that Nigella started off by making onion soup for her flatmates while she studied a medieval and modern languages degree at Oxford. Although Nigella has experienced major success since the age of 21, she maintains her humble beginnings. "I can't chop neatly or with virtuoso rapidity," she has said. "Anyone watching would think I have no idea of what I'm cooking."

3. Gordon Ramsay 

This Michelin-starred chef is better known for his savage comments and tweets than his food. Still, with eight TV shows and 30+ restaurants, it's hard to believe that Gordon originally wanted to be a soccer player when he was 21. It was only after an injury that Gordon was forced to change career paths, eventually opening his first restaurant in his early thirties.

4. Madeleine Shaw

This up-and-coming food blogger may have three successful books and an app on healthy eating, but her diet wasn't always clean. Madeleine admits that she was living on Diet Coke before attending university in Sydney, where she worked at a health café. By 21, Madeleine knew that she wanted to work as a nutritionist, and she started up her lifestyle website, which she still runs today.

5. Bobby Flay

Whether you've eaten at his restaurants or watched "Throwdown!"  — chances are that you recognize Bobby Flay. This American chef began his career at the tender age of 17, working as a cook at the famed Joe Allen restaurant. Joe Allen was so impressed with Bobby's work that he paid for him to attend the French Culinary Institute (#goals). At 21, Bobby was fresh outta school and ready to begin his career. I'm feeling inspired.

6. Buddy Valastro

As a regular binge-watcher of "Cake Boss," I wasn't that surprised to learn that Buddy grew up making cakes with his father. After his father died when Buddy was 17, he took over the family bakery, and by the age of 21, Buddy had passed up college in order to teach himself the art of cake decorating. Talk about drive.

7. Julia Child

She may be known for bringing French cuisine to America, but there was a lot more to Julia Child than some salade niçoise. Julia's first cooking endeavor was organizing refreshments for her senior prom. But at the age of 21, Julia was an active member of Smith College, participating in both student council and basketball.

8. Rachael Ray

The "Rachael Ray Show" is almost as iconic in America as the statue of liberty. But before she became a household name, Rachael worked at the candy counter at Macy's in New York during her early twenties. I bet Rachael never imagined that her former employers would one day sell her collection of cookware in their stores.

9. Paul Hollywood

With a collection of books, baking mixes, and a career as a host on the "Great British Bake Off," it's hard to imagine Paul Hollywood was anything but successful. I mean, seriously; even his last name screams fame and success. But at the age of 16, this English chef was studying art to become a sculptor. It wasn't until his father, a baker, convinced Paul to join the family business when he was 20 that he discovered his bread-making skills.

10. Mary Berry

This host of the "Great British Bake Offis beloved by the British public, second only to the Queen. Mary may be known for her traditional English Victoria sponge cakes, but around the age of 21, she was training in France at the prestigious Le Cordon Bleu. However, Mary is quick to credit her mother as her greatest inspiration, who cooked until she died at the age of 105.

11. David Chang

You might not recognize his name straight away, but David Chang is a pretty important dude. In fact, this Korean-American celebrity chef invented the iconic Momofuku chain. At 21, David lived a typical college experience by surviving off of instant ramen noodles as he studied a degree in religion at Trinity College, Hartford. It wasn't until he quit his desk job to teach in Japan that David began to make ramen from scratch.

12. Guy Fieri 

You can immediately identify the host of "Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives" by his infamous bleach-blond hair and sunglasses, but did you know that this celebrity chef has never actually attended culinary school? At 21, Guy was sporting a mullet and partying it up in a frat at the University of Nevada, Los Angeles, where he graduated with a degree in Hospitality Management. It wasn't until Guy began working at an Italian restaurant after college that he gave cooking a shot.

Becoming older doesn't have to be scary. As a 20-year-old whose birthday is quickly approaching, I'm pretty excited to be legally allowed to drink globally (why must you restrict my booze, America?). And I'm no longer as nervous about my career path. These celebrity chefs have proved that anything is possible, no matter your age or university degree. I may be an English major at a Scottish university, but if I want to be a celebrity chef in LA, then I know it can be achieved with a lot of hard work.