Other considerations are that my wife has a normal schedule. Right now my job fits perfectly with her schedule.
Dude, you seriously don't know how important this is, and how lucky you are atm. Food service is a relationship killer. The divorce rate is up there with cops and soldiers.
Sounds like you have a pretty sweet gig where you are. Don't make the mistake of thinking that high end restaurant cuisine is the be all end all. You're in a legit sector of the industry, and you're excelling both for your bosses and your customers.
Whatever you do, make sure you have a good talk with your wife about it.
Here's my POV regarded stage.
Stage is something you do on vacation. You find a cool restaurant, set up a stage, schedule your time off or leave of absence, have some nice weeks of working vacation, and come home having learned stuff, added to your resume, and accomplish a good bit of networking.
Here's my story of the stage of woe:
Some buddies from c school and I applied to a certain famous Florida chef's Los Angeles outpost. A bunch of other people had also applied. I have a nice talky interview with the CdC, was impressed with to be talking with a guy who came up with the man himself. CdC says, why don't you try out for a week with us. Sure I thought, why not. So I put in my week. Had a lot of fun. The sous chef was a trip, scored some points with my knowledge of sauce polonaise, embarrassed my self with a horrid brounoise, and learned some good work habits from the pantry girl I was shadowing. Then I realized there were around 2-3 stages every single shift. By my calculations, they got about 130 free hours of labor from my buddies and I, not counting the other applicants
I was a little bitter about it at first, because I felt suckered, especially since I didn't get the job. It was a week I could have been doing something more productive, but at least it was interesting.
Anyway, the moral of my rambling story is that for any unpaid stage or shadowing as part of an job application should be kept to 1-2 days tops.