Cooking and International Travel

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Joined Apr 20, 2016
Hey there! This question doesn't involve culinary school, but it involves learning and I just couldn't find another place it fit.

Background

I've currently been exploring my love of cooking lately during my time living and studying in Bhutan as an anthropology student and I am really enjoying the practice of cooking, the interaction it creates, and also the delicious food I get to make with my own hands :). I've been spending the past few months learning all sorts of authentic Bhutanese recipes and in July I will be moving to Hyderabad India to live for a few months. 

So my question is this

Does anyone have experience learning how to cook in a foreign environment without being in a culinary school? I like the idea of working in a restaurant and learning that way, but I don't know how to go about finding a job like that in a place like India. Plus working in a country in an environment where people will be speaking their local language, which I know very little of. I also have no connection with the expat community there as all of my friends are locals. I'm looking at learning from friends' families, but I would like to experience the hecticness of cooking in a kitchen as work, I quite enjoy the work. 

Anyone have any tips on learning cooking abroad? I would be very interested to hear! Thanks a ton!
 
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Joined Mar 15, 2016
Even though you're not in culinary school, you could volunteer to work at a restaurant for free to gain experience. It's called a "stage" (pronounced more like "stodge"). Staging is how most culinary students and entry level cooks get their first jobs. If you work for one day, or a few days, you will be able to see if it's a place where you want to work longer and many restaurants are happy to have extra help for free and may offer you a paid position after they see how you work.

When you get to Hyderabad India, eat at a lot of local restaurants and start a conversation with the kitchen staff to develop a relationship. Ask how different dishes are prepared, or where they get certain ingredients, or how they created a dish - anything to show you are interested in learning more. After a few visits, you can bring up the idea of staging for them and see what they say.  

You could also offer to teach them how to cook some Bhutanese dishes in exchange. Good luck!
 
4,474
421
Joined Jun 27, 2012
Welcome to Chef Talk @Snicker...

Have you talked with your local associates (fellow students?) about this interest?

Maybe someone's wife or mom would like to have you over to help prepare a few meals.

mimi
 
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5
10
Joined Apr 20, 2016
I just started my first cooking stage a few weeks ago! I work twice a week now while I'm in school, and I get to work at what some people call the best restaurant in Thimphu! I'm loving my job and, although the language barrier can be pretty rough, and they don't push me as much as I think I should be, I'm still really loving it. Thanks for the tips guys!
 
4,474
421
Joined Jun 27, 2012
Awesome!

Your bonus....there is no better way to learn a language (other than the 1.5 K that Rosetta Stone charges ;-) than by working the BOH.

mimi
 

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