If you're looking to switch careers into the culinary field, or pick up some part-time kitchen work, it takes more than a white hat and comfy shoes. Take some tips from a trained chef.
Shuna Fish Lydon is a trained chef and proprieter of the Eggbeater blog, where she gets a lot of emailed questions about working as a chef, but none so much as how to land that first gig, the apprenticeship. Here's the start of what she sends back, and what she's using in her own jobs search:
- Eat out as much as you can afford. Bring a little notebook and pen with you wherever you go. Take notes. When you find a menu you love, ask your waiter for the full name of the chef and pastry chef. Ask what the hours of said restaurant are.
- Print out your resume/CV and bring it, in person, to this restaurant and ask for the chef/pastry chef by full name. Only go to a restaurant before services. If a place is open for lunch and dinner it's best to show up between 3-4 pm. Never ever ever ever call or go to a restaurant and ask for anyone managerial while service is going on.
- Flattery will get you everywhere.
That's just the tip of the iceberg, of course, but probably the most important part of the application process—not ticking off the chef before you've really had a chance to make them mad. Hit the link below for Lydon's full 18-point list of application tips, along with a good bit of advice on actually living through your early trial by fire and subsequent climb up the kitchen ladder.
Have you recently found cooking, baking, or otherwise working in the back of the house? Tell us how you did it, and what newcomers should expect, in the comments. How Do I Get a Professional Cooking/Baking Job in a Restaurant? [Eggbeater via Serious Eats]