Staging at a 4 star NYC restaurant. Customs, etiquettes, do's and don'ts?

Joined Feb 4, 2009
Hi everyone, I'm from Hong Kong, and will be staging at a 4 star restaurant in NYC in late January.

I've done one day "stages" at Robuchon a Galera (Macau, 3 michelin stars), but they were arranged by l'Atelier de Joel Robuchon where I was cooking then. This time my current restaurant in HK has no connection with the NYC restaurant, and I arrange the stage myself.

- Taking notes/photos (not for publishing)
Is that commonly done/not done?

- Working hours
Do I arrive on time or an hour before? When Chef says I can go can I stay and watch?

- Taste testing
Cooks should always taste (within reason), but can a cook staging taste (within reason)?

- Equipment
Apart from my knives, anything else I should bring?

- Asking questions
Is generally a good thing (within reason), but there must be some stuff which they want to keep secret and not tell me (totally fine with that). Are they usually frank about it "we can't tell you" or is there a more discrete message?

- Staff meals
Do I eat with the staff or is there a custom thing to do?

NYC kitchen cultures in general, anything I should be aware of?

Thanks all =)
Joined Dec 4, 2009
as distant a possibility for me as something anywhere near approaching this topic and line of questioning might be... i really hope some folks can chime in on this one and not be afraid to expand on the issue (or perhaps point to another conversation/source).
Joined Aug 7, 2008
Taking notes is going to depend on what the Chef has you doing and your methods of notetaking. A mini laptop isn't going to fly in most kitchens but a PDA or iPhone etc may work depending on your speed and the Chef. A camera needs to be small as well. Don't be surprised if your asked to put either of those away. Make sure your phone is OFF.
What you should bring besides your knives is a set of whites. You should never count on any one having jackets your size unless the Chef asked for your size in advance. Unless you are spending three days or more that's probably not going to happen.
You should arrive early but an hour is a bit much unless you were instructed to be there an hour early. 30 minutes is plenty to change and get geared up if this is just a one day gigg.
Staff meals and "tasting" vary with the Chef and the kitchen. Keep your eyes and ears open and go with the flow.
When the Chef says you can go that means GO. Remember you are there to work and learn.
Enjoy yourself it sounds like quite an adventure.
I hope you have some time to enjoy the city as well.
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