Hello everyone, I am looking to start culinary school this winter at CAI here in Napa valley and need some help in the form of information. The CIA requires at least six months of kitchen experience in a kitchen and proof, which I totally understand. My problem being that I have for the twenty-one plus years been off serving my country and fighting wars, now that my retirement is just around the corner, I greatly look forward to starting a new career and fulfilling a dream of becoming a chef that I have had my entire life. How does one go about finding a culinary job just for the purposes of fulfilling the CIA's prerequisite, and to what level do I attempt to get into a kitchen, what I mean is, do I go ask Thomas Keller for a job in one of his Yountville restaurants or do I try to find something less in the spotlight? I understand that Thomas Keller used to do something to help inspiring chefs find their way, but can't find any information on it. I do feel fortunate that I live in one of this countries food meccas, and am quite sure that most of the higher end restaurants in Napa and the Bay have a program to assist in such things, I just can't figure out how to access this information. I have all of my tuition taken care of, I live within a short drive of the school, I have both a retirement and a housing allowance so I have a full income while attending the 21 month school, I have have all the application work for the school completed for entry, I just don't have the CIA's six months of kitchen experience they require. Please keep in mind that I do have experience in the kitchen and have a professional kitchen in my home both inside and out to include a wood fired oven, I have been cooking my entire adult life and spent almost every free moment I have in the kitchen, it's much more than a hobby it's an obsession, at least that's what my wife says. My wife has given me her blessing and full support, so there is nothing holding me back except this pre-req issue.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Edited by Michael W - 7/12/12 at 11:46am