This may be a little drawn out so bear with me (I do eventually get to the piont).
Over the past 2 years, I have been struggling with trying to move myself up into a prep/line cook position from being in a dish/prep position. I have been running into roadblocks everywhere, mostly because the market here in Buffalo is very limited, not only because of the lack of positions actually available but also because I have no car (or license for that matter). My roadblocks mostly come in the form of going against people with experience and/or culinary degrees whereas I have neither.
On top of that problem, the current management where I work is very two-faced. On more than one occasion I have heard them bad-mouth an employee who I believed to be a good employee. This is done behind their backs and yet when the employee comes in it's all buddy-buddy. That being the case, I feel a little nervous about using them as references. They say they will give me a good one but I don't think I can trust them. It looks horrible to not use references from your current job on a resume but don't want a bad one either.
Lastly, my boss has a reputation of being a real hard-a** in and around the cooking community. He has come up in conversation with other chefs/cooks a few different times and I don't say much because I don't want it to get back to him. But the other party's comments are usually not plesant.
So with no expereince, no degree, no good references from my current job, and a boss who makes me look bad just from putting his name down, what should I do?!?
I Love to cook and I would like nothing more than to do it professionally but I can't seem to get my foot in the door anywhere. Any suggestions on how to handle this or even words of encouragement would be greatly appreciated.