I currently work in a chain kitchen. I've been there 6 months, and it was my first ever job in the trade. I enjoy the job and I want to pursue it as a career, but I want to leave the place where I am currently working. I'm dissatisfied with the quality of food they allow, the fact that due to it being a chain no-one has any input in any of the dishes, and I feel like due to this my learning is being hampered. I would really like to work in a highly rated, independent restaurant. I'm in a fairly big city in England, FWIW. I'm hoping some of you more experienced guys in the trade can help me by answering a few of my questions. 1) How should I apply to new jobs? Should I look for vacancies, or just drop in at restaurants that interest me and explain my situation? If so, what time should I drop in? Would writing letters be a better way? 2) Are there any reasons I should never mention when/if I get an 'interview'? I'm already aware of a few, like never bad mouthing a previous chef. 3) I was intending to apply after Christmas. Obviously right now is too busy for me to be applying to new places, but I thought that January would be quiet enough for them to take me on. I'm now thinking though that as it will be a quiet period, they won't be keen on taking new staff on. Am I overthinking it? Thanks in advance, and I'm sure that I'll remember some more questions, or some new ones will arise from this thread.