Advice for young cooks just finishing culinary school..
This seems to be a popular topic as of late.....so I'll wade in.
A good, professional, scratch kitchen.....is a million years away from chain restaurants and culinary school.......understand and accept this is. It doesn't mean you're ill-prepared, it just means, you honestly know very little of use to me.
I hire based on work ethic, drive, the willingness to dig deep and work as hard as you possibly can so that while I am investing MY time, money, and resources (other staff, etc.) to train you, you are doing everything in your power to help the team be better. In the beginning, that means sweeping the floors, changing fish ice, help the dish guys, etc........menial tasks that need to get done.....you need to learn how to run a restaurant and the only way to do that well...is to start at the bottom. As your skills improve, I'll teach you more but I need to see an investment on your part......asking questions, taking notes, reading outside of work.......staying late....etc.
Culinary school doesn't mean a lot. Come on, lets be honest, they teach you a skill and you work on it for a few days/ weeks.....thats nothing more than an introduction. A culinary school grad has at best, a garde manger/ prep position in any solid restaurant....even than, it's a stretch.
I hire and retain guys cause I teach them a well-rounded skill set. I chastize and cajole when needed but it's never personal. I see mistakes as a learning opportunity, learn from it and move on. Don't repeat it.
Practice......read, learn spanish.........work for free on your days off at well-regarded places around town......you'll start to develop a skill set and connections.....all of this takes time......
Best piece of advice.....your reputation follows you and sometimes precedes you.......it's a small industry and some cities are smaller than others.......don't burn bridges, be humble and gracious to those that help you.