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teen in need of restaurant experience

post #1 of 2
Thread Starter 
hello all, My name is Sarah and I'm a 16 year old from Maryland. I'm passionate about baking and cooking and know that I want to have a career in the culinary world. I really need advice on how to gain experience in any way that I can, I live in a pretty suburban area with not many independent restaurants around. is there any advice on how to get work somewhere? should I start at a chain restaurant, or offer my service for free if they aren't hiring? any help would be VERY appreciated. thank you!
post #2 of 2

Speaking as a chef you might speak to I have a couple of questions.

Do you have reliable transportation? How will you get to work every day?

What are the work restrictions in Maryland for someone sixteen years old? In New York you are not allowed to use a slicer or work certain hours. You may have to start dishwashing or waiting tables. 

A couple of suggestions. You could start by helping out in a local church when they do church suppers. Or a soup kitchen. Any place where many people are served. This is all food preparation and you still have to follow health department regulations, good work habits and general sanitation. Look for a local hotel with a restaurant. Any independent bakeries? Check your suburban office buildings, many may have some kind of foodservice.

You say there are not many independent restaurants around. But there are a few? Apply at the ones you do have. 

Where ever you work, whether a pizza place or fast food or fine dining, a lot of the same work ethic applies. Work hard, work neat, do what you are told in the manner you are told. Show up on time. Do not get caught up with co workers who have a poor professional attitude. 

Do not complain about the stupid, ugly uniform you may have to wear. In a kitchen you may end up working wet, sweaty, greasy and feeling pretty gross and tired at the end of the day. That's how it is. You may get yelled at or talked to disrespectfully by your superior. You will definitely have to do certain jobs you don't like. 

No business is legally allowed to let you work for free. So you are always subject to labor laws of your state. You might start by finding out what Maryland and Federal labor laws are so you are better prepared before you begin. 

Keep in touch here and let us know how it's going. Many on here can help if you have problems along the way. 

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