I live in deep South Texas, where there's very few REAL fine-dining establishments, like 3-5. And eventually, I want to be in a job where I do real cooking that focuses on quality. Moving's out of the question at the moment so basically I'm looking for valuable experience and possibly moving somewhere with more culinary opportunities. I'm barely graduating from my associate's degree and currently I'm "observing" in a chain restaurant, in other words, I'm working for free. I've finished the (paid) training for the job but with the exec chef deeming me "slow" and being under threat of "if you want to keep the job...," I've volunteered to work for free so I can be more comfortable and faster on the job. It really is more of a quantity than quality production line. My reasons for applying in a chain restaurant include: -the fine-dining establishments here are sub-par to average in quality -it's always very busy and if i can survive here, i can go anywhere The thing is... I'm not really liking the chain restaurant because of the working conditions (no breaks, not too much worth in the work - mass production, too much expectations for a novice) but I know I can do it, it's the masochist part in me. But should I continue to work here? Or am I setting myself up for abuse? Is it better anywhere else? Country-club? Fine-dining? Which experience would you value more? Experience in a busy chain restaurant or in a fine dining with average quality? Should I quit the chain restaurant and rush over to somewhere else? How can I look for better fine-dining establishments? Answers, recommendations and comments are appreciated. Thanks.