Hi all, I joined this forum and have enjoyed the discussions so I thought I would throw this out there. I am self-taught and I feel pretty accomplished considering that. The only objective evidence I can give you beyond my own subjective opinion is that I have taken 2 separate one-week long, serious culinary courses, one at Le Cordon Blue in Chicago and one in Burgundy France. Both times after completion, the chefs said that if I am not able to quit my work yet and go to culinary school full-time, I should try to get a stage in a restaurant, from what they observed of my skills and comfort in the kitchen. The chef at LCB said "These little vacations courses are not for you." The problem is, I'm nervous as shit about even asking and have no idea where or how to start. There is a small French restaurant in my area and I am most comfortable with French and Indian cuisine. Do I just send the chef an email? Every thread makes them seem so busy I can't imagine they have time to approve my beginning by washing dishes or chopping onions. Any advice or thoughts are appreciated. I am happy to answer more questions about my skills/experience. Thanks in advance.