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how to ask for a pastry trainee job?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

I am almost finished with culinary school for baking and pastry.

But I have no work experience in any kitchen.


I read the best way to find a any kitchen job is to find the best restaurants or hotels with my interest, eat there several times then ask to speak to the head chef / head pastry chef.


This may seem silly but I am nervous about it because I worry head chefs / pastry chefs might be mean and  when I ask for a job. 


I was thinking of saying something like this: 


'I just graduated from culinary school.  I love the desserts in the restaurant and and to gain some real world experience here.  I am willing to work for free just to learn from you and other chefs at this establishment'


What is your opinion or suggestion for saying something better? I don't know what to say.  I am so nervous about asking, even writing this now makes me nervous.


What has been your experience when asking them for a job?  Did they ask you to prepare a mystery dessert or a practical?  When is a good time to ask to speak to the head chef / head pastry chef?  What are general working times for pastry chefs?  Will they want a resume?


I don't have 'I think I am so cool' attitude a lot of culinary graduates have and I am not one of those students trying to show off.  When everyone is standing around or chit chatting in class, I am the one who cleans the dishes and I always come to class on time with a clean uniform.  I don't know how to convey my discipline when I ask for a training position. 


I just want experience creating the basic breads and pastries and anything else for now and to give me a chance to gain real world practice.  My attitude is to learn the basics first.  I am willing to work as a dishwasher clean the floors and peel 5000 pounds of potato etc without pay just to learn.


Thank you in advance for any advice.


Forgive me if this question was asked many times.

post #2 of 6

Not to be snarky or anything but.....

Calm down!!!

If I was interviewing and you threw yourself at my feet like you have described, I don't think I would hire you (even for free to wash pots and pans).

Kinda creepy and just oozes a lack of self confidence.

Would make me wonder if you would go postal some day.

Talk to your councilor at whichever school you are attending and ask if they have job placement.

Maybe if you knew you pretty much have the position nailed your anxiety problem would go away (or at least lessen).

This may sound dumb but stand in front of a mirror every day and repeat this: I am a great pastry cook. I am worthy of respect. My job ethic is without peer and anyone would be lucky to count me as part of their team.

Another thing....set your sights a bit lower (chains, cafes, grocery and supermarket bakeries) as I expect part of your problem is having a face to face with an intimidating exec chef.


Take care!




OBTW......if you go thru life in hospitality scared sh**less because someone might be mean to you.....I see a stroke or heart attack happening at a very young age.



post #3 of 6

Calm down.....


1) I think that if i had eaten various times at places i have worked at, i would be extremely poor , that the salary wouldnt make up for it. 

Seriously dont waste your money eating at a place in hopes to get a job. If you want to eat at a place of possible interest fine go there once see if you like the food. Leave a resume as you walk out....


2)I get it you have no work experience, but their is no need to be nervous before you even have a job offer confirmation. Most new cooks get nervous during service, you are getting nervous way in advanced. Dont freak out. 


3)When looking for jobs i do it the old fashioned way. I hit the streets and start handing out resumes before the restaurant opens. It usually helps going during the week not on weekends when the restaurant could get extremely busy. Hand out as much resumes as you can, in places of you interest. For places that werent open that day go the next day, or send through e-mail. 


4) Dont give up, if its been a week and no one has called, send out more resumes , even if it is at the same places. Show them you are determined and if you can talk to the owner or head chef (if they arent busy), tell them you are willing to learn and work from the bottom, up. 


5)If you want to work with pastries, then try handing out some resumes at bakeries. It may not be the best pay but any experience is helpful when you have no experience. Like you said you want to learn the basics, so i dont see a problem in working in a bakery to learn that. 



Now i hope i was of the least bit of help. Seriously bein nervous right now wont help, and neither will self doubt. 

Type out a resume , read it, see if you like it, print a few copies. 

Hand them out this or next week at places who may be interested in. Their is no need to be nervous. 


You cant be nervous if you have yet to hand out resumes, interveiwed and gotten a job offer. Do your part first and get resumes out there, then you can worry lol. 


Networking helps in the industry , even though my prefered method is handing out resumes over talking with connections i have, i usually get the jobs because of networking or because of known referances. 


Half the jobs i have gotten were because of connections , the other half was the old fashinoned way. 


Try talking to your closest form of networking , which is your school. See how they can inform you and if they have job placements. Also talk to your culinary instructors as well. They can be of help as well. 



Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.



Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.


post #4 of 6

I can understand being nervous; it happened to me when I went for my first ever job interview after college.  It also happened the first time I had the lead role in a play in college. 


But don't let it stop you from moving ahead. 


Actually, you DO have some experience in a kitchen - the school you're attending.  While some scoff at that, you at least are familiar with the layout of a commercial kitchen, you know how to handle some of the equipment and while you might have a lot of stage fright when it comes to looking for work, someone who is cleaning and working while the rest of the students are goofing off says a lot about your dedication.  Just don't let it make you into a doormat when you land your first job.  You want to stay late and arrive early yes, but you also want to absorb everything you can.  When you land that first job, you might want to take a small notebook (one that fits into a pocket) and at appropriate times, write down what you've learned or seen so you can refresh your memory.  Don't stop what you're doing to write things, but don't try to do it at the end of the day either.  Write when you're on a break or at lunch, that's when you can write the tips and tricks (like, "make sure butter is very very soft when making the cream cheese frosting" or something the chef tells you that might not be written down on the recipe).  Go over them at the end of the day (maybe even rewrite them - I used to teach and some of my students did this and it helped them tremendously).


Anyway.  There's bound to be a placement office at your school so go to them and find out if there's an employment list; or maybe there's a list of employers who offer internships which will give you some experience.  If there are hotels in your area, go and apply.  They're not going to expect you to create a showpiece your first day; they know they're hiring someone brand new with no experience so they're not going to throw you under the bus so to speak. Don't sell yourself short.  You've


If you want to work somewhere with no pay, this is called staging (not pronounced like the stage you perform on, it's the French pronounciation Stahjz - from the french Stagiere) and it's often used as a way to see someone in action in a kitchen for a day (a shift) and see if you fit them and they fit you.


Go for it!  Good luck!

post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 

Thank you for all your responses


Flipflop girl:  I like your advice about practicing in the mirror.  I am not some weirdo, it is more that I am not sure how to express my dedication in words.  I would need to show rather than tell, so I am unsure about how to express it in words to the head chef so he could give me a try.  I am sure the head chef in top restaurants sees many people asking for jobs and I wanted a way to stand out above the crowd.  I am sure after the first interview I will be significantly less nervous.  My instructors always told me to aim for the top and to check the best hotels restaurants and hotels to learn from their technique, that I would only be as good as my last job, therefore I will try the best establishments and see what happens. 


KaiqueKuisine:  That is a good phrase 'tell them you are willing to learn and work from the bottom, up.'  That was very simple and direct.


JCakes: You are right about the experience part in the kitchen of culinary school, for some reason I did not think about that and it just now triggered several ideas. 

post #6 of 6

That's more like it.

Belive it or not I am extremely shy in new situations.

I stand quietly in the back or side and observe until I get my sea legs.

Once I have figured things out I start warming up and quite often become the leader of the situation.

I have periods when I am so anxious I cannot leave my home for days.

Situational anxiety (BS right) is a very real emotion.

The mirror trick helps get me back on track.



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