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Low Pay vs. Travel

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

 When reading about famous chefs, they always insist travel is the way to broaden your culinary horizons. I don't disagree. 

However, given the notorious low pay (and long hours) in the industry, how do you pay the rent and bills and still have time and money for travel? 

I've been all over the US but even a weekend trip costs more money than I can currently spare. A European or South American trip is completely out of the question. 

So my question is, if you are in the industry and yet have the time and money to travel, how do you do it? 

post #2 of 12

By combining the two. After I closed my restaurant, I took a couple of years and did a working vacation in the Caribbean. I now work for a caterer and in February, the slow time for us, I take a month off for travel. I usually go to one location in some other country. Because I choose to focus on one location, I manage to network with local chefs and or hospitality professionals and pick up as much side work as I need or want. God I love this business!

Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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post #3 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by chefwriter View Post

 When reading about famous chefs, they always insist travel is the way to broaden your culinary horizons. I don't disagree. 
However, given the notorious low pay (and long hours) in the industry, how do you pay the rent and bills and still have time and money for travel? 
I've been all over the US but even a weekend trip costs more money than I can currently spare. A European or South American trip is completely out of the question. 
So my question is, if you are in the industry and yet have the time and money to travel, how do you do it? 

I live as cheaply as I can, and have no family to care for, that helps tremendously. And travel can be cheap depending on where you go.
post #4 of 12
In my younger years, 70's 80's, i traveled all over the US and Canada via bus and then Honda 754. Sleep roll and a tent, sometimes hostels. I scraped enough money together by not being a wasteful person and time or was 2 to 6 weeks in a row( 6 by changung jobs)

Europe via cheepest flight I could find and backpacking via eurorail pass, and thumbing and walking in eastern Europe.

As an older gent now a days I still love a road trip to the contintant and I love airtravel. Hotels are a neccessity. My business sets my schedule but I get away several times a year now.
post #5 of 12

If you are under the age of 35 you are able to get a work and travel visa to quite a few countries. Some say 30 years old is the max some are 35. 

I am much older than this however I still travel this way:

Travel on a budget. Use hostels. Work for cash. Meet people, make friends (and potential free couches to stay on). Net work like crazy. Work at local farmers markets, they pay in cash daily (also helps you learn the local language and currency quickly). Have an open mind so that you are open to opportunities when they arise.....this means having a YES mentality. Learn to live with all your gear in a backpack, no extra luggage needed. ;)

post #6 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by chefwriter View Post
 

 When reading about famous chefs, they always insist travel is the way to broaden your culinary horizons. I don't disagree. 

However, given the notorious low pay (and long hours) in the industry, how do you pay the rent and bills and still have time and money for travel? 

I've been all over the US but even a weekend trip costs more money than I can currently spare. A European or South American trip is completely out of the question. 

So my question is, if you are in the industry and yet have the time and money to travel, how do you do it? 

@chefwriter  Above are all the ways of doing it. I just want to speak to the concept. I learned very early on that this industry is very demanding.

Not many other professions understand the sacrifices that one has to make to survive. I came up in a large family that were food people or NYC cops or fireman. I learned from them that if you're going to sacrifice and give 110% at work you have to reward yourself. It's a discipline thing.

Like being self employed and always finding an excuse not to pay yourself. It doesn't work. You just have to get a reward or you will crash and burn or always feel like what you're doing is not worth it. You just have to do it. I always plan my reward. Even if it's an expensive trip. Sometimes it takes me 2 yrs. to get there, but knowing it's coming keeps me going. When you have to do something important like educating your children, you will usually find a way. Your rewards are just as important. As a kid there was nothing like spending a month in Europe visiting family and traveling. Now a days, it not a month but it's still a reality. You can't learn about other styles of food unless your eating them in someones home kitchen. Just the other night I cracked up when my brother-in-law, who just got back from France, told me the best meal he had was at a Chinese restaurant in Paris.

Just my concept.

FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
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FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
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post #7 of 12
There were a few years in the 90's that British air and US Air were partnered and flew direct from Pittsburgh to Paris and London. A few times they had off peak specials that ran pitt to paris or london 199$ round trip, leave thursday and come back monday. Was able to take advandage of those a few times. I miss pre 911 travel😕
post #8 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lagom View Post

There were a few years in the 90's that British air and US Air were partnered and flew direct from Pittsburgh to Paris and London. A few times they had off peak specials that ran pitt to paris or london 199$ round trip, leave thursday and come back monday. Was able to take advandage of those a few times. I miss pre 911 travel😕
you can get tickets to Guatemala or Mexico city for right around $350 round trip out of phx or nyc. It'd not europe, but it's still a blast. And Mexico had 5 of the top 100 restaurants last year.
post #9 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by kingfarvito View Post

you can get tickets to Guatemala or Mexico city for right around $350 round trip out of phx or nyc. It'd not europe, but it's still a blast. And Mexico had 5 of the top 100 restaurants last year.

Id be all over that if I was back home. 😀
post #10 of 12

Another thing I neglected to mention about my month long vacations, when I arrive at my location, one of the first things I do is touch bases with local real estate companies. Most of them have agents that deal in vacation rental houses specializing in guests that are staying for a month or better. That usually translates to some leads on family groups of 10 or so people with disposable income that are dying to have a casual fine meal at home prepared by a chef.

 

Last year I flew from California to Nicaragua for about $400 round trip. A two bedroom house on the beach was $1000 for the month. It doesn't take much side business to make up for that. A party a week and my vaca is pretty much paid for with some surplus cash to make up for the lost income from not working my regular job.

 

The year before that was Honduras. Before that Belize. Costa Rica, etc. etc. I would do this as a lifestyle if I could get the wife away from the grandkids!!!


Edited by cheflayne - 10/3/15 at 8:46pm
Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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post #11 of 12

Our next reward will be in 2017. We're going on a cruise for the first time. Except for the confinement I did as a kid. I don't like flying for long periods. A little claustrophobic.I'll need a bucket full of Ativan for a ship. I figure if I was going to try it we should make it interesting. Going to Japan, Korea, Beijing, etc. Supposedly a lot of time on land and the food on the ship is supposed to be all developed by Keller. We'll see.

FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
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FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
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post #12 of 12
Thread Starter 

Thank you everyone for your responses. I'm not sure how I'll do it but it's definitely time to figure it out. Perhaps Montreal for a start.

Perhaps, as Panini states, it's time for a reward.  A working vacation may be the way to go. In any event, my passport is just sitting there, mocking me.  

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