Cooking Abroad

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Joined Oct 22, 2005
I'm thinking of eventually moving from working in Canada to Europe, but I really don't have any idea of how to do that. Does anyone have anything that I should know, such as their job trends in the field, good places of employment, how hard it is to get in, etc etc.

Thanks in advance, and any information is helpful. :)
 
111
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Joined Jan 12, 2001
just go. seriously. less thinking, more going.

i did a year in barcelona and a year in bologna. both times, i just went without making any arrangements. didn't get a visa or work permit, didn't have any contacts, didn't know anyone. i do speak spanish and italian. that helped!

bring a few chef coats, aprons, and chef pants. plain black chef pants are great because they double as a somewhat dressy option. take some trains around and visit a few cities. eat in restaurants. good restaurants. wait until you find a city where you like the feel and the vibe.

get a local guide and target restaurants that are doing food that's interesting to you. eat in a few of them and decide which ones you would like to know more about.

and then go knocking on back doors. wear your chef coat and apron and knock on doors, offering to work for free for a specific period of time--a weekend, a week, whatever.

you'll get laughed at and brushed off a few times. and you'll also get taken up on your offer a few times. right place, right time. someone's always short staffed somewhere. find that place, and let your skills do the talking.

be quiet, observant, and humble. do what they ask you to do quickly and stay out of the way. if it what needs doing is washing dishes, do it. if they have you cleaning lettuces for three days, do it. and do it quickly, well, and with a good attitude. you will soak up knowledge by osmosis, just by being there.

the hard part is just taking the plunge. everyone wants to have something all lined up before they go. resist the urge to feel safe.

good luck.
 
111
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Joined Jan 12, 2001
if you're caught working without proper documentation, i think the absolute worst case scenario is that you'd be asked to leave the country.
 
147
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Joined Aug 1, 2005
Check with your Embassy about visas. They're not difficult, I think, there's plenty of Americans working/living here. In France, there's a big shortage of cooks right now. If you speak French check http://www.anpe.fr the govt. job site - I live in Vaucluse, Provence, and there's about 100 vacancies for commis/chefs de partie right now. We need a sous chef in the restaurant where I work.
 
43
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Joined Oct 22, 2005
I know some French, and am going to be able to speak German before I leave. Does anyone know about working in Germany? If the industry isn't in demand there I would love to work in France as well. :p

Thanks for the info btw. :)
 
7
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Joined Apr 13, 2006
I also am planning to go over and hopefully find some kind of work and sustain myself there. Planning to go early September, acclimate and then try to get in on some harvest activities (perfect season for a foodie and cook)and then maybe some restaurant work. Everything i've read regarding work visas makes it sound pretty hard. The Eu wants to keep it in the Eu and so unless you have specialzed experience and the govt agrees on the need for you it is especially hard for americans. I would love to think my experience is specialized , but in a place like France where food/wine is a top priority it seems like there would be alot of trained people floating around. As the gentleman said the best and stress free bet would be to get the under the table job. Even in the major travel books they say that working with no visa is generally looked past by authorities...
 
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Joined Mar 5, 2006
As a duel citizen to both the USA and The UK, it was quite easy. Since I moved here from Bermuda, I've worked in Holland, Sheffield/Rotherham ENG., under no restrictions at all. Did a short stint in Coasta Rica, mainly to surf at will, but need VERY LITTLE money, so just worked for giggles. If i had beed "found out" I would of had to leave. Vancouver B.C. was the most fun I've had though, and it was very easy to attain work permits.

Alot of places will grant work visas, it just depends on the duration of the stay.

COOKING IS UNIVERSAL, JUST DO IT! Even if you went to europe and backpacked, and worked through harvest season in France or Spain, in exchange for room and board the experience is well wort it. Getting your foot in the door to work in a kitchen is easy, it all depends on the proprieter letting it happen.
 
1
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Joined Jul 24, 2006
I'm getting married in April, and my hub to be wants to also travel overseas. We are thinking of Spain for 3-6 months or up to a year. He could teach English and I could cook. However, we need to think of living arrangements for both of us. I understand work visas are difficult to obtain...etc. So how do overseas travelers support themselves 'illegally'?

Sarah
 
5,507
946
Joined Oct 10, 2005
Don't do it, for gawd's sake don't work illegally. If you do, it's about the same as walking around stark naked with an arrow pointing at your um, derrriere. You could get screwed on salary and have no where to go for compensation. And, as pointed out above some countries have "0" tolerance for illegal workers, Switzerland and Germany come to mind for this.
 
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