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Thread: Stagiaire - Success, Failure and what not...

  1. #1

    Stagiaire - Success, Failure and what not...

    I'm currently entering my second year of Culinary school, though I'm about 70% done with the cirriculum. As I enter my last three quarters, I'm trying to secure at least one high-end opportunity.

    Where all have you been? What's the most ambitious place you've tried to get into? I'd love to hear success stories, as well as failures. As well as any tips one might have. I imagine timing and luck can play a large role.

  2. #2
    I should add, I really want to Stage with Salty, and I've tried in the past but the timing has never worked out. Would love to absorb some of his knife knowledge.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gravy Power View Post
    I should add, I really want to Stage with Salty, and I've tried in the past but the timing has never worked out. Would love to absorb some of his knife knowledge.
    Forgive me, I've never been to school.. and I'm a prep monkey... what does "staging" mean?


    EDIT:
    http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/stagiaire -- intern.

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    Salty Gravy....I like the ring that has :P

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    Senior Member Chefdog's Avatar
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    I would say not to focus too much on finding a place in the "best" restaurant, but instead finding a classically trained chef who's willing and able to take you on and teach. Getting into a 3 star michelin place doesn't do you a whole lot of good if you're turning potatoes and picking herbs all day every day. But working alongside a motivated, well trained chef who wants to teach you what he's learned, even in a no-star restaurant, will serve you much better in the long run.

    I'm certainly not saying there's no value in striving for the best, just that there will be plenty of time to explore the top tier later. Focus on the fundamentals early, and you'll be better off when the 3 star opportunity arises.

    I talk to plenty of students who went for the gusto straight out of school and end up feeling like cheap slave labor on their exterships. In contrast, a student from my last class chose a small, relatively unknown place with a chef who worked at the French Laundry and is extremely happy with the experience.

  6. #6
    Senior Member skiajl6297's Avatar
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    Gravy - where are you located/interested in being located?

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    Senior Member K-Fed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chefdog View Post
    I would say not to focus too much on finding a place in the "best" restaurant, but instead finding a classically trained chef who's willing and able to take you on and teach. Getting into a 3 star michelin place doesn't do you a whole lot of good if you're turning potatoes and picking herbs all day every day. But working alongside a motivated, well trained chef who wants to teach you what he's learned, even in a no-star restaurant, will serve you much better in the long run.

    I'm certainly not saying there's no value in striving for the best, just that there will be plenty of time to explore the fancy and trendy later. Focus on the fundamentals early, and you'll be better off when the 3 star opportunity arises.
    +1 to this for sure. I never went to school so alongside self education. Text books, cook books and the like I learned a lot of what I know from chefs that were willing to take the time to give me the low down on what they were doing. That being said I'd love to spend a week with salty as well. Theory too.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Chuckles's Avatar
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    I would stay away from places that rely heavily on sous vide and other "modern" techniques. If you learn that stuff before you're solid on classic techniques it could easily become a crutch and limit your options down the line when trend chasing may become less important than a quality position or buying diapers.

  9. #9
    Senior Member hambone.johnson's Avatar
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    Ive worked in two Micheline star restaurants, both later in my career, and im greatful i have done that opposed to right out the gate from school. its best to get a base and find a great chef who will learned and work with you, stay with that person for 2+ years and then move on to something else. Then later you can move on to some places you really aspire to. I see kids come in to the places ive worked totally green and they expect to be guided, or transfixed or work closely with a chef but the truth is the pace of the kitchen is too fast and explinations are short if any and failure, usually in drastic fashion, is the most common form of learning. then they have to make adjustments on a daily basis and its often so hard on the individual. get some knife skills, some line skills, a head on your shoulders and then apply to the places you have always aspired to.

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    get some knife skills, some line skills, a head on your shoulders and then apply to the places you have always aspired to.
    yes to all of this. do the classic techniques, learn it and learn it well. i've heard this many many times.... if you wanna be good at something you have to do it at least a thousand times, so if you wanna master technique, you have to do it way more than that. and then when you think you're good enough there's always gonna be someone better than you at it. being in the kitchen is pretty competitive coz you always wanna be faster or better than the other guy.

    a head on your shoulders will help you to be able to handle people in the kitchen who are let's just say less than ideal in terms of personality and work ethic. there will always be that one dude that you hate being around with.

    so good luck and see where it takes you. i hope i get somewhere as well. lol.

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