Looking to stage in Europe

Discussion in 'New User Introductions' started by Whatsburning, Jan 12, 2018.

  1. Whatsburning

    Whatsburning

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    Hey all, traveling through Europe this summer and want to do some stages. I have NO desire to work at a 2 or 3 Michelin star place (peeling potatoes and picking herbs and flour petals while getting talked down to for being American isn't my idea of fun or useful). What I'm looking for is small, out of the way places that you've heard of, or eaten at....basically the more charcuterie hanging in the rafters the better. Also "forage to table" is huge for me so I'd love to see how it's done (and what is found) in other parts of the world.
    I'm gonna be all over Europe for almost 2 months so no place is irrelevant! All input and advice is welcome. Thanks in advance for the advice and I'll even take any criticism....A good chef should take both regularly!

    Full disclosure I'm not rich or even well off. I went sober and saved every penny I used to spend on "the chef life style".
     
  2. nicko

    nicko Founder of Cheftalk.com Staff Member

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    Well I applaud you for not going after the big guys 2-3 stars that is absolutely right in my opinion. My stages include a 1 Michelin star and the rest had no stars. You can always find work in the resort areas, think Switzerland alps, Italian alps, Greek islands. My advice would be have a well written CV (resume) and don't expect any pay. If they are really generous you might get a place to sleep. Find some places you like and just ask them if you can work.

    What is your experience? In Europe they really hold apprenticeships in high regard. If you don't have the experience to show your have completed some level of an apprenticeship it can be tough to find a place.
     
  3. Whatsburning

    Whatsburning

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    Hey thanks for your reply! Im 34, 3rd gen chef (been in a kitchen since I was tall enough to stand on a milk crate and scrub pot and pans) went to NECI for culinary school, been a chef in some capacity for some of the top places in US and one in the World ranking....bla bla. I can hold my own and more than know the ropes.
    My wife is Slovakian, so I know eastern Europe a little but not enough to be confident. I have a passion for old world food preservation more than anything...canning, fermentaions, curing, things of that nature. Im the Chef at a tavern now, but keep an open ended stage going at a 2 star Michelin place to stay sharp.
    Im going to be in Switzerland, for about a week so I'm defiantly going to check that out.
    I start off in Barcelona, I speak a little spanish and understand more just because you have to if you work in this industry in the states.
    Thats about all I got. I like to consider myself humble, so i dont think im above staging anywhere. And im really greatful for anyone that responds to me and open to any suggestions...thanks again
     
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  4. nicko

    nicko Founder of Cheftalk.com Staff Member

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    Cool, and welcome to ChefTalk.com glad to meet you (virtually). I would try to find a few small highly rated places that catch your eye and send them an email or hand written letter and even if they don't reply just show up they will at least know who you are. You would be surprised how many chefs will let you work for them if you just ask and don't expect anything.

    I found my first stage through a friend it was a small one star place in France that most people had never heard of. While I was there I met an Italian chef and asked if I could come work at his place in Italy and he said sure. Just keep asking till you get a yes. Most chefs will not turn down free labor. Keep us posted on your adventure.
     
  5. markos sdranis

    markos sdranis

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    It's relatively easy to find work in greece during the summer season. I'd stay away from family owned hotels/restaurants though, most have terrible ownership/management.
     
  6. ljokjel

    ljokjel

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    Spain might be difficult right now. Its been a huge debate about this lately, where it has come to the point of people calling it slavery, and media referring to it as this.
    I did a 6months unpaid stint at at 2 star(now 3), followed by 1,5 years employment within the same company at a BiB gourmand. Its been a huge debate about this now. Asked if I could come down for some time and spend a week or two with them.
    The answer given: It is possible, but completely hands off, and not in uniform, for a few days. In case of a inspection, they couldnt afford any more scandal now. Maybe its possible if you are there through some institution (school etc.). This was in Barcelona, so it might be different in other parts of Spain.

    In Norway I find it plausible. Im hoping to be able to send my apprentice to some other restaurants now soon, for him to see and learn something new, and hopefully motivating him a bit. This is something that might be a bit shady legally. I have to look into it.
    My guess is that Italy would be a good place to start, if Spain doesnt work out for you.