I know what you’re thinking. You’re tired of the job you had to take. You’re tired about the daily 9-to-5 grind, trading your hours for a handful of dimes doing something you abhor. You imagined yourself to be a chef. To be a kitchen professional.
Doing something you always enjoyed – feeling alive, feeling appreciated, feeling like being a part of something important, of a team that’s greater than the sum of its parts.
You want to take up an internship at a kitchen somewhere – anywhere. You think you’re ready. You think you know enough people in the field.
Well, not so fast – are you sure you’re prepared for this?
Because if you aren’t, then we’ve got just the advice for you – advice for you to make the most out of your internship. To get the experience you want and deserve.
Ready? Read on.
1. Make Sure You Have the Appropriate Wardrobe
You can’t expect to be selected for an internship wearing ill-fitting jeans and baggy shirts – at least not in the restaurants that you want to be working in. You need to have the basics: black pants, t-shirt, and a chef’s jacket. You need clogs (or boots) and a hairnet (or an alternative way to cover your hair). It’s what corporate gear is to a chef-in-training, so hit the kitchen supply stores as soon as you can.
2. Obtain the Necessary Tools of the Trade
No one will take you seriously if you don’t first invest in tools that are necessary for the field you want to pursue – the same is true for every profession. And for you, the intern, you need to make sure you have a set of knives – you don’t need those sets that come in all shapes and sizes. As a rule of thumb, you’ll need at least a chef’s knife (simply because chefs knives are best for EVERY kitchen job), a bread knife with serrated edges, a steel knife, a vegetable peeler, and a paring knife. These are the barest necessities that will guarantees your commitment and your desire to succeed in the field for any prospective employer. This means that you want to be taken seriously.
After all, when did you ever hear of the greatest chefs in the world sharing chef’s knives? It’s totally unthinkable.
3. Educate Yourself – Every Time, All the Time
Life in the kitchen isn’t easy. That’s why you need to prepare yourself mentally and physically for you to be able to withstand the rigors of such a demanding career choice – even just as an intern. Talk to people in the field. Read books. You’re in an internship first of all to LEARN, so make sure to maximize your time with the veterans by picking their brains at every turn. This will also make sure you remember why you wanted to pursue a career in the culinary world in the first place – extremely helpful when you feel like you’ve hit the wall.
Preparing for your internship shouldn’t be an esoteric experience – it’s just like any job, only with different tools and a different environment. More than concerning yourself about equipping yourself with the necessary tools, you need to focus on your mental game – this is a career that requires you to give yourself up completely and dedicate a majority of your waking time to.
But then again, you already knew that. Best of luck in your internship quest!