I am a young chef (24), 2 years experience, no culinary education. After one year traveling I decided to quit university and become a chef because cooking and food are my passion.
I was very lucky and spent my first year in a small Italian restaurant, serving quite good food, one of the best in my country. However, the place was quite small, so there was just one chef and one assistant plus dishwasher. Started as a dishwasher and worked my way up to chefs assistant. The chef and the owner is a great guy, but he never really showed much effort in teaching me something. I had to ask for everything or just watch him and learn from that, he did many things alone, without giving me the possibility to learn something.
After that I was lucky again and got a job as a commis chef in local top Asian restaurant, spent there about six months and learned the proper way of working in a professional kitchen with different stations and 5 chefs. I learned there so much! The work was hard, but everyday I could learn something new, how to be better... That was great. I left this place because the owner didnt like me and I couldnt stand his yelling, slave salary and working hours. After that I got a few other good experiences in catering for weddings or private events, cooking outside at farmers markets, working under a great chef, but that was just a seasonal thing.
I live in a country (Czech republic) where the gastronomy situation is quite bad and it will take a long time to change the people and restaurants and chefs. Even though I live in a capital city, there are not many job opportunities (actually - none, they hire only at McDonalds). So I am thinking about going probably to UK (it's close, I speak English, they have interesting culinary scene, I dont need any special visa) and trying my luck there. I have passion for cooking, am not lazy, I can work hard, under pressure, I have good knife skills, I am just missing the experience, even though I did manage to run a stations on my own, I need to learn more...
Basically I would like to find a job in a restaurant doing some simple honest food, where I can work and LEARN from other chefs, but also have my own responsibility. I am actually willing to work for free for some time, if that is necessary for my training (and because my lack of experience), I am just not very sure if someone is going to appreciate this and take this as a plus, I dont want to look like totally desperate when saying this at some interview.
What do you think, do I have a chance, or can you give me any advice? :)