How do I travel and cook at the same time??

Discussion in 'Professional Chefs' started by foodsaucy, Oct 5, 2011.

  1. foodsaucy

    foodsaucy

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    Hi there. I guess this is a question for anyone who has successfully traveled, worked, and lived internationally. A little bit about my circumstances... Just a little bit of back ground on me.... I am 26 years old and have been in the industry for almost 8 years. I recently began advancing in my career by getting a sous chef position at a reputable resort in Laguna Beach . I appreciate the position but can not deny that I desire very strongly to travel. I am hoping that you might have some suggestions??? I am unhappy with the work I am producing. Now I am never one to not work somewhere for less then a year but I am over it. I have heard many amazing stories about other chef's travels and I am interested in traveling to Italy and am trying to pursue my culinary education while doing so. I have sent out a few emails to restaurants and chefs but have not had much luck with responses. Has anyone just took off to Italy for 6 months and winged it, or should I have a plan and set up a internship before I go. Any ideas or experiences would help. Thanks for taking the time to read this and hope to get some answers!! Have a wonderful day!

    Thanks

    Krystal
     
  2. sherbel

    sherbel

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    By all means....have a plan. And if you don't speak Italian, learn it first. I've spent time in Italy, and Italians are not particularly charmed by people who don't at least attempt to learn the language. Working in a kitchen where a different language is spoken is not easy or fun. Trust me.

    Italy is a big country, with some ongoing political and social problems. It's probably safe, but you must know where you are going, where you will live, (In general, what part of Italy, specifically you'll need a flat or a room) and certainly what style of Italian cooking you wish to learn....6 months isn't long, but it's a start. Have plenty of money available, but not in cash. You will need Euros, and, needless to say, a passport. You may also require a visa if you plan to earn money. You do not want to spend time in a jail in Italy for working illegally.

    Truthfully? I would start by finding an authentic Italian restaurant (In the US) where the cooking is of the region to which you wish to travel, and start there. See if it's what you really want to study.
     
  3. james-italy

    james-italy

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    That's some good advice from Sherbel. I feel obligated to add a responce since I live in Italy and have been here since the early 90's. Years ago you could have maybe winged it but in these days you'd want a game plan or I'm afraid your trip could just turn into a long vacation.

    There are many potential problems with you working in a restaurant here. First of all if you don't have living and working permits no one can "officially" hire you. Things like internships and "stages" (working for little or no money to gain experience) are highly regulated here and wouldn't be that easy unless you were very young. If you think you might want to go that route I'd try some university programs for college kids.

    You might find someone willing to take you on and pay you under the table (translated in Italian would be "in nero" which means in black), but it's pretty risky for the restaurant and would be hard to organize unless you were introduced by someone. Most of the big name international restaurants wouldn't take the risk in my opinion. Maybe some small rural restaurant might, but there you would probably need to speak at least a little Italian. 

    One suggestion would be to contact some ex-pats to find someone who may be willing to take you on, or know of someone who would. There is a forum you will find if you google expats in Italy and along with the search results you'll see some other relevant sites.

    Good luck!
     
  4. chefhow

    chefhow

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    I was in your position what seemed like ages ago.  I set out for the Caribbean and spent a year there working thru the USVI, it was the best thing I did at the time.  I dont know your financial situation but if you can afford to offer to Stagier for them that would be a great way to get some different perspectives on food.  Sort of a crash course in different cuisines around Europe.  Stay in local hostels and travel by rail with an open ended Euro Rail pass.  Just some food for thought.
     
  5. durangojo

    durangojo

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    krystal,

    i agree with everything the above posters say...i also have this to add.....you are at a perfect age to travel....not too young to be naive about things, not too old to embrace all the adventures just waiting for you! i totally believe that you can have your cake and eat it too. it takes some finagling, but can certainly be done...i was a private yacht chef for years...i didn't get to the med, but i have sailed practically everywhere there is a drop of water from the caribbean, the east and west coasts of the us, inland waterways,mexico, bermuda, bahamas...it is a hard job, but it pays well and well, you travel.....as chef, i was the first one up and the last to go to bed...breakfast, lunch, dinner, crew meals, snacks, appetizers, desserts.....lots of work, but as said before, good money......down side is living in small quarters with people you don't really know...getting along with people you may not particularly like and no privacy, but you are young.....you'll adapt.....i'm sure that there are crew agencies in SoCal that offer free registration. with your credentials and the fact that you are single, you should have no problem finding a position. there are lots of boats going to the med, but this time of year they are coming back or going to mexico or the caribbean...worth a look see though....also, there is a sight ICIF.com that you may want to check out. i recently wanted to do the same thing as you, but i'm twice you're age with attachments, so it's not quite as easy breezy as you. the ICIF is a work/study program in italy...piedmont...they have 3, 4,& 6 month programs. housing, meals, school....the italian government sponsors the program, which keeps the costs down....it's for chefs only, and was designed to promote italian cuisine and culture to other countries...also worth a look see...buona fortuna!

    joey
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2011