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Working Abroad

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

Hello all,

 

I'm seeking information on how to travel abroad and work in other countries. I would like to use the restaurant industry as a mode of travel--working my way across a few countries in Europe. In looking to see if this is actually possible, and not just a pipe dream, I'm trying to get a couple of questions answered. If you guys have any of this information, I would be extremely appreciative! 

 

1) What are the work visa laws? Is it possible to get paid to work for a full year in the EU? Simply put, I do not have the money to be able to work for free.

 

2) What qualifications are necessary to even be paid as a line cook in an upscale (preferably) restaurant? Would a degree from the French Culinary Institute, for instance, cut it as an alternative to a completed apprenticeship in France? Should I be looking into other degree options/schools?

 

3) Are there any websites/literature available that cover this topic?

 

Thanks so much 

post #2 of 4

Welcome to ChefTalk Matthew! Years ago I did what you would like to do and traveled abroad as a young chef in training. There are two ways you can do it and one is to go through a company who will place you with the proper papers etc. The other option is to find someone who has a contact in Europe and go without papers and work for a short time. The first option is a good way to go since you are there legally but the job you get might not be what you hoped for. I was actually very fortunate to find a friend who had contacts with very good restaurants that worked out to be a fantastic experience for me. When I was there I was always on the move 2 months hear, 6 months there and so on. If you want to go and work in the same area for a year or two then I would work with a company that will place you.

 

 

Although you will get paid if you go through a paid service do not expect to be paid by the higher end (michelin 3 star etc) restaurants. Won't happen you will be lucky to get in for free if you do. Besides you don't want to go to the high end places since all they will let you do is cut herbs and clean lettuce. Try researching some the new "neo-bistros" in Paris and you will probably be able to get in working under a chef who worked for Joel Roblechon or Georges Blanc. They will also probably let you cook and work as opposed to just taking up space to clean lettuce and chop herbs.

 

Your degree won't mean anything to the chefs in Europe. I could talk for hours on this subject so if you have more questions let me know.

Thanks,

Nicko 
ChefTalk.com Founder
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Thanks,

Nicko 
ChefTalk.com Founder
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
Bacon (I made)
(26 photos)
Reply
post #3 of 4

Wow! I came here to ask a similar question and strangely will be graduating from FCI early next year! 

 

I was actually thinking of maybe working at a hotel or B&B somewhere in the US. I am from NYC/NJ and would love anywhere near the water. :-)

 

What advice would you have for a new graduate and can you tell me of your experiences? Will I get time to enjoy the location I work at or do they really work you all hours? Do/can they provide living arrangements? 

 

Thanks so much!

 

 

post #4 of 4
Thread Starter 

 

Thanks so much for the helpful advice you have already provided on the subject of working in Europe. As you are the first person I have encountered who has actually been able to accomplish this successfully, I would appreciate any continued advice you could provide.

 

If it is at all important, I have been working in the field for about 1 year for one of Atlanta's better known chefs. I'm hoping to attend culinary school in the beginning of 2013 (just over one year from now), and I've pretty much decided that the FCI's faster program seems right for me though I'm open to the CIA if those extra years prove to be more valuable than an additional year working in the field. 

 

My goal is to work and travel in Europe to gain as much experience as possible. The neobistros you mentioned are exactly what I'm looking for--lots of the right kind of experience. My real problem is that I can only afford to do it if I can be paid at least something--which as I understand it complicates work visas and such. I'm really not sure how the papers work or what my options are via legal routes. Could this be something I could set up through an academic institution?

 

Furthermore do you have any advice on how to seek out chefs willing to teach for short amounts of time (assuming work visas do not permit extended periods of employment)? 

 

Any and all advice you could offer would be a tremendous insight for me! Thank you so very much for offering your time and knowledge, I truly am grateful.

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