I am in need of some desperate direction for what to do with my future.
I graduated from college in Maryland with a degree in English. I quickly moved out to a small town in North Idaho, where I began cooking in an organic food co*op. This is nothing like a line, though I understood this slowly. I realized I wanted to actively pursue cooking after 5 or so months working at this place which is basically like a glorified cafeteria (we put out soups, and a "hot bar" throughout the day.)
I asked around about becoming a stage. My location does not offer me much as there are only about 4 really nice restaurants in the area, but I started about a month ago doing one shift a week at a place in my town. I really love it, and it is offering me some great advice, and experience. However, I fear it is only preparing me for that particular kitchen, and to be honest I haven't had too much one on one time with the head chef. I am grateful that they allow me to come help for that shift, and I bust my ass to try and stand out. With all that being said, I am moving to Chicago in August where I believe things will really kick into overdrive, but this is where I start to get shaky.
I know that I do not have intense experience, so what do I do? I am seriously hindered by my location. Once I get to Chicago, what is my first step toward truly experiencing the cooking world, and how do I prepare myself to work on a line? There are a lot of jobs and fantastic restaurants in that area. How do I even get a second glance? I didn't attend culinary school, I have limited stage experience, and I'm 24 (is that old in this world?)
Any and all advice would be amazing. I would be grateful for any tips, and if any Chicago chefs know somewhere to look... any direction that would be fantastic. I know these are loaded questions and this is a lot to look at, but anything at all is better than nothing.
Thank you Chefs,