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Sep 16, 2009 10:12 PM

Working in a kitchen for a weekend?

My friend is the sous chef at arguably the most upscale restaurant in Toronto. He knows I love food, and will do alot of crazy things for food, but I have almost no professional training whatsoever, but I do cook, I even beat him in a cooking throwdown once. Anyways, he offered me a position (unpaid) to work in his kitchen for the weekend; or almost any other kitchen in Toronto if I didn't want to work for him.

A part of me thinks it'll be fun, and a story to tell later. But at the same time, I wonder if I'll be dicing carrots all day, or cleaning out the oil. Also I am afraid with no training, I might embarass him, or even ruin someone's dinner.

Still, it sounds interesting. What do you think of the idea?

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  1. DO IT.

    You aren't going to be cleaning out the traps.

    There's only so much carrot that one restaurant can go through a day-it won't take you that long.

    You're not going to embarrass yourself. Not unless you are incompetent. No training=/=incompetent. You're probably going to be fine.

    It's the most upscale restaurant in TO- do you really think they're going to put you in a position where you'll be able to ruin someone's dinner??

    My boss invites lots of stagieres into the kitchen. Indeed, it's how I got the job... But anyway, most of these people have extremely limited experience, and no one has ever been a PITA except one who was truly incompetent. We all wanted to stab her. Yes, we do tend to give stagieres the boring jobs, e.g. trimming chanterelles and pulling oxtail meat from whole oxtails, but the faster you get it done, the sooner you can move on to something else.

    Besides, it's just a weekend: everything seems fun when done for a weekend.

    1. If someone gives you a chance at this...DO IT MORE THAN ONCE! This is some of the best experience any serious home chef without restuarant training could get. Prep is great, and even dishwasher experience is valuable...cause those guys will teach you how to clip off 30% of the time you spend doing dishes. Tell me that doesn't add up...

      This said, you're likely not qualified to jump into a mission-critical station, so just know that. You will not be plating food, you will not be sous.

      If I was putting a friend with skills into my kitchen, I would make you a floater. Doing menial tasks, observing, then also jumping into the line if you can hang.

      1. Take him up on the offer. Don't expect to be on the line making any ones dinner but I seriously doubt you will be cleaning oil or washing dishes. Expect to be a prep cooks helper or just trail your friend.
        Over the years I have taken a few people into my kitchen for a day.
        They all had a great time.
        I hope you come back and let us know how it went.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Fritter

          I would love to have the opportunity. Like you said, if anything it will make a great story.

        2. Why don't you ask him what you'll be doing in his kitchen? Weekend is a busy time and you don't want to be getting in everyone's way.

          1. I would jump at it.

            I would love to see how they can construct in 20 minutes what it takes me 2 hours to make.