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Working abroad? (travelling chef)

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Im 20 years old and am absolutely hooked on this industry. After a shaky first year where I learned little about food and more about being tough and disciplined, I now have a good job in a small place that does good food and has a great chef. My problem is that I want to see every country on the planet, experience how they cook, eat and live. Im lucky to have been to France twice as a teenager and to Asia for a 3 month trip 2 years ago and I was fascinated by the expression of their cultures through cuisine, art and music. I want to see all that I can see, but also want to be a chef untill the day I retire and I know the long hours and shit pay might restrict my travelling options. Have any of you more experienced chefs worked abroad? How did you find it?
post #2 of 7

Europe generally has a split shift system, Asia generally has a 6 day week.  Makes more sense to work for a block of say, 6-12 mths, travel 2-3 mths, then go back to work.

 

The one thing I've learned is to always make a Herculean effort to learn the language and customs of the place you're in.  When Joe Schmoe sees that you actually want to learn about his culture, he'll gladly show you things.  If you show no interest, he won't either.

...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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post #3 of 7

Hi,

I work in London, here all depends on the place you work at but I would say 50 hours+ per week is average. High end places might squeeze more out of you....I worked in Spain a few years ago for 5 years and it was a mixed bag, some places do split shifts, lunch service than siesta than back for dinner service. I worked even 6 days per week which I wouldn't want to do again if it wasn't working for myself...Hotels are more regular shift work you are probably already used to....Rest of Europe has more strict 40 hours per week policy, I know Denmark operates 38 hour per week maximum deal, France is 40 hours(French never stop complaining that this is the reason why high end places are nearly impossible to operate nowadays). In London it is chef's market at the moment, there are a lot of jobs available and not enough chefs. Hope this helps.....

post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 
What Im wondering about most is how much of a problem things like the language barrier, finding somewhere to live, money ect are? Part of me wants to commit to one place for at least 10years but I also want to travel as much as possible all while im young. I guess the best bet is to work in one country for a year and then move on to another.
post #5 of 7

you ether have to go and work in English speaking country or have at least basic command of language of the country you are working in. Also your CV has to be in that language. I learned Spanish pretty quick, and trust me you do when you have to. .Finding a place to live etc is no different than going to live on your own in your own country, you can research all this before on the net and go prepared, you will probably need a decent amount of money as things like deposits, one months rent in advance etc would apply. 

post #6 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by foodpump View Post

Europe generally has a split shift system, Asia generally has a 6 day week.  Makes more sense to work for a block of say, 6-12 mths, travel 2-3 mths, then go back to work.

The one thing I've learned is to always make a Herculean effort to learn the language and customs of the place you're in.  When Joe Schmoe sees that you actually want to learn about his culture, he'll gladly show you things.  If you show no interest, he won't either.

Could you elaborate more on the European systems. Is it normal to do seasonal stints? If not I would have to stage which wouldn't be an issue I'm just not as familiar with the working culture. I'm asking more along the lines of England, France, Italy...
post #7 of 7

I worked in Switzerland from the mid 80-s to the early 90-s, things might have changed since then, but I haven't heard otherwise.

 

Most places worked a split shift--that is, from 9-ish to 1:30-ish, a break, then 5-ish to 10-ish.  A good chef would always stagger the shifts by a few hours for each cook, but basically split shifts were the norm for just about every place in continental  Europe.

 

Seasonal work was never frowned upon.  Europe has its fair share of winter/skiing resorts, and a good number of summer resorts.  Many hotels would move their entire crew from summer resort to winter resort, with staff taking their holidays between the two seasons.

 

Can't speak for England, never been there--unless you count a 5 hr stopover in Thiefrow waaay back in '84.......

...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
Reply
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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