I would say follow what No Chop and Eamon had to say. I look for willingness to do and learn and an ability to follow thru with a task and finish. Be positive and confident, but not cocky. Be honest about your strengths and weakness and work on the weakness to make it stronger.
Hi Mel, I'm assuming that your here on a student visa that's limited to 25 hours paid work a week.
In my experience most places in OZ ( particularly high-end fine dining ) ,hire their cooking staff on a full-time basis. The reason being that they can get as labor as possible for a fixed wage.
I reckon you should get a copy of the most recent " Sydney morning herald food guide ". Work out on a map which places are within practicle traveling distance to where you're living. Then door knock each one outside of service times.
You need to get a foot in the door and even if you are washing pots, the network of fine dining people , even in a city as big as Sydney , is quite small.
Best of luck.
I've just recently joined the food industry myself down in Melbourne as an apprentice (about 14months and worked as a kitchen hand for a few months before). I started low-end and connections have been made which have opened a lot of potential roads for me. I just looked in the classifieds (Epicure supplement in Tuesdays "The Age" down here, don't know what the equivalent in Sydney is) and on seek.com.au. Ended up applying for a job in a fairly popular pub; the food was nothing special, just high volume and high stress. Few months later the sous chef left to take a higher end job and offered me a job with him, I'm now coming up to the second year of my apprenticeship and plan to move to another establishment soon and the head chef has offered to put in a reference to friends in hatted restaurants.
So basically, my advice (and this is based PURELY on my personal experience so far in the industry) is:
Always apply in person and follow up with a call if you haven't heard anything for a few days;
Don't be too picky about aiming high, I started low and it's potentially opened paths for me to high-end restaurants and that's only just over a year in, which sure as hell flies by in this industry I'm sure you'll agree, and;
Don't complain. (you've done 100hour weeks so I assume you've got a good work ethic anyway)
Wish I could give more advice, but I'm pretty new to the industry and I'm an ex-pat too so my knowledge really is limited to my experiences.
All the best mate!
Hi all. First off, thanks for all the advice.. Seems like door-knocking is the way to go then. I put in my resume with my school's industry placement team and they told me they probably could get me into one of the better restaurants (read Marque/Quay/est.) so fingers crossed!! But if I do get in it's all up to me to stay in!! Can't wait for the weekend to end!!
It's not the Answer it's the Experience