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Broke chef looking for options

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

I'm a sous chef recently out of a job and am trying to figure out what my next step should be.  I am not classically trained and have never been to school but have spent the past 5 years learning on the job and on my own.  I developed enough to be considered for a head chef position at a 80 seat bistro but that went by the way side.

 

I really just want to continue learning as I just turned 29 and could learn quite a bit more outside of the small culinary world I currently reside in.  My idea is to travel to other parts of the country to try and pick up short term jobs at some decent places where I can gain some more knowledge.  The problem with that is that I don't know where to begin.  Obviously i could do some stages but I wouldn't be able to sustain myself for very long doing that.  So what are my options?  Interviewing for restaurants across the country on the phone doesn't seem very productive.

 

Should I just pack my bags, pick a city, and hope for the best?  I've been in this too long to not have this be my career and know I have the will to become an excellent chef so changing careers doesn't seem like its in the cards. 

 

Surely someone else has been in this position before and could chime in 

post #2 of 3

If you want to make this a career you have to know what kind of chef you want to be and what type of food you want to learn.  Choose a city and a chef that specializes in that type of cuisine.  Do your research and see if they have any openings and write the chef telling them your intentions and willingness to learn.  Many times a chef will hire you for an entry level position just on your willingness to learn and grow and then you will make your way up quickly from there.  Hope it helps, but have a plan.  If you just pack your bags and go you will continue to be broke and not have the culinary knowledge you want.

 

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post #3 of 3

Been there, done that.  If you can, get a couple of written references, preferably on the letterhead of the business. They still help when looking for work. Then pick a city with good restaurants  where you have a friend or relative you can stay with. It helps when moving to a new place if you already know someone who you can stay with till you find a place of your own.

     Once you have your travel/moving plans in place, pick the restaurants you want to work with and send a cover letter and resume ahead stating that you will be moving to town on X date and would like to talk to them about work. Once you arrive, spend half your time visiting the restaurants you sent the letter to and the other half finding a place of your own to live. You have the advantage of the internet so much apartment research can be done online and you can view restaurant's websites and menus. Don't forget about large companies like Sodexho, Hotels and others with multiple locations so you have the opportunity to transfer in the future. 

    If possible, pick a town or city with a culinary school nearby. You have not been and may never go but if you decide to, already being near one will help in the future.   

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