Featured Finishing Culinary School soon...what would be the best option?

Discussion in 'After Culinary School' started by hmirchev, Jan 6, 2018.

  1. hmirchev

    hmirchev

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    Culinary Student
    Hi everyone,

    I've been digging around the forum quite a bit lately and finally decided to make a profile with the intention on getting some advice on what to do after I finish culinary school.

    First off, I'm going to be graduating with a culinary arts associate's degree this upcoming May. I currently reside in the US, but I have a European passport, as well a US citizenship, so I can pretty much travel and work/stay anywhere in the US or Europe indefinitely.

    Second, I've been wanting to go to Europe after I get my degree and work in a good established restaurant there, preferably in Spain/France/Italy or the UK. I have some work experience working in a restaurant, both front and back of the house, and I'm confident in my abilities. I'm interested in finding a good internship, but I'm not sure how I should go about finding one in Europe or in the US. Of course, if I go the internship route, I'd either need a paid position, or a place which would be able to provide room and board.

    Also, if I was to look for jobs online and apply, and they are in different parts of the world, how would the interview process go? I've been told to look for and take the best opportunities which present themselves, as well as working under great chefs, in order to have a real chance of prospering rapidly in this industry. I'm very open to learning new things and I have no problem with working in a top restaurant, without getting any pay, but only if I'm able to have a place to eat and sleep.

    I would appreciate any ideas, help, advice, or any other insights you guys might have that would help me out. Thank you in advance.
     
  2. jimyra

    jimyra

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    Welcome to Cheftalk. I don't know about working around the world. I do know working under great chefs starts out peeling potatoes and shelling beans. I don't want to discourage you but prospering rapidly in the food service industry take time. Good luck.
     
  3. hmirchev

    hmirchev

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    So I emailed a ton of restaurants in Sweden, Denmark, and the Netherlands, and one of the best restaurants in Copenhagen offered me a stage, and I'll be going there in August. I'm really excited. Can't wait to learn about the new Nordic cuisine and how to use seasonal ingredients to their full potential.
     
  4. sgmchef

    sgmchef

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    Hi hmirchev,

    Since you said "wanting to go to Europe" I assume you haven't been there yet. You may want to investigate a company called "Ryan Air". They have four airports in Denmark. Round trip to London is less than $50 bucks from Copenhagen. IF you get a break, and can afford it, a cheap trip to Spain for Tapas sounds good to me, still less than a hundred. NO frills flying at its best.

    I hope you get together with a local resource to help you with local customs and laws stuff. You should really have fun there! Be open to the new ideas and ways of doing things. There are many little details to deal with.

    The harder you work, the more you will get out of the experience.

    Sounds like you are committed to going, so post any specific questions you can think of. Someone will probably know an answer.

    Good Luck! Have Fun!
     
  5. dc1346

    dc1346

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    Congratulations!

    I've lived and worked abroad, though not as a chef. I spent 17 years in Ghana, Thailand, El Salvador, Saudi Arabia, and Lebanon.

    As a former expat, here's some general advice:
    1. Be aware that you'll still have to file an annual income tax return. After your first year abroad, your income should be tax exempt from the point of view of the IRS, though you'll still have to file a return. The idea behind this is that most people working abroad wind up paying the host country income tax. I really lucked out with my 7 years in Saudi Arabia because Saudi Arabia didn't HAVE an income tax!
    2. Our electrical devices are not compatible with those in Denmark. We use 110 volts while most of the world uses 220. Danish electrical sockets are often a Type K plug which consists of two round pins and a grounding pin. If you're planning on taking any electrical devices with you, I would recommend purchasing an electrical adapter that will allow you to recharge your devices.
    3. It's always a good rule of thumb to register your presence with the U.S. Consulate. This was particularly important for me when I was in the Middle East because Iraqi scud missiles were hitting Saudi Arabia during the First Gulf War. When I was in Beirut, I once spent the night under a heavy desk in my apartment because targets in the city were being bombed by the Israeli Air Force. Since I was registered with the local Consulate, when the decision was made to evacuate all U.S. citizens, I got a phone call! This wouldn't have happened if I hadn't registered.
    Even though Denmark is unlikely to be as dangerous as the Middle East, registering with the local U.S. Consulate will make it easier for the government to get in touch with you just in case there's a family emergency. By way of example, while working in Saudi Arabia, one of my colleagues gave his son a free trip to Costa Rica as a high school graduation present. Having spent a lot of years abroad, this young man didn't think twice about registering with the consulate after he arrived in Costa Rica. I'm sorry to say that 24 hours later, he was the victim of hit and run incident. He died when a taxi running with its headlights off to conserve the headlights, hit him while he was crossing a street.

    When the local police checked his wallet, they saw that he was an American and they contacted the U.S. Consulate. Since he had registered with the U.S. Consulate, a U.S. official was able to contact my colleague (who was also registered) regarding the bad news. Without this registration, the U.S. Consular official would most likely have put in a call to the local police in the town that was listed on the young man's driver's license ... and trying to get family contact information would have been really cumbersome.

    I wish you well with your adventures abroad. I had a grand time and although I'm quite happy to now be Stateside, I treasure the memories of my experiences.

    Be well and stay safe!

    Held og lykke! (Luck and happiness)

    David