Getting into the Business (Please Answer)

Joined Apr 21, 2010
Hey there. I'm Jordan, I'm a 20-year-old college student currently studying abroad in Berlin, and I love to cook! Right now I'm just a home cook, but I'm looking to get an entry-level, part-time job in a restaurant (prep cook/kitchen assistant/dishwasher/etc.) when I go back home to the Pacific Northwest this summer/fall.

I'm definitely a beginner, and I had trouble getting a restaurant job last summer, having to settle for a position as a cashier. I've handled food at my past jobs, when I worked in a grocery store, and when I worked at a produce market, but I never done any cooking in a professional context. I believe that my two major problems were my lack of experience (of course), and even more so my poorly-constructed resume, as I was actually never called in for an interview (with the exception of the job I ended up getting).

I'd really like to get into the food business, but culinary school isn't an option at the moment, while I'm still finishing up my B.A. In the past, I've picked up cooking very quickly and easily, and I think I really have a knack for it. Aside from that, I just really enjoy it, something I'm sure I don't have to explain to anyone reading this. I could really use some advice on how to prepare myself for a food job independently, because there's no other field in which I'd rather work right now.

So, here is my onslaught of questions: What can I do to teach myself the skills to secure an entry-level position in a restaurant? What specific skills are most important for me to learn at my level? How can I show my passion for cooking and the skills I've learned independently on a resume, and overcome my lack of professional experience, so I can actually get called in for interviews? If I were to enroll myself in any cooking courses here in Berlin, which subjects would be most useful for me? Would anyone recommend online cooking courses/training videos/etc.? How should I go about the application process (i.e. get my resume out anywhere and everywhere/be more discriminate/etc.) Do you have any other suggestions for me?

Thanks in advance for any help. I can't wait to read your responses!


Staff member
Joined Jun 11, 2001
For the most part chefs hire driven people.  People who are willing to learn and show up on time.  You can learn a lot at home but translating it to the commercial kitchen is going to be challenging.  It's going from making stuff for one or two at a time to making six different items for fifty people without a break.  You should have knife skills.  Those can only be had through repetiition.  You pick up a few tricks here and there in the kitchen but the basics of how to hold a knife or how to grill don't change.
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