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Request to Stage


Qui
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I have been interested in requesting to stage to restaurant/bakery for a while now. I would like to go to some well established bake shops/restaurants primarily in New York City or Vegas to stage for few days or maybe even a week.

My question is: how do I do it? Should I just write a cover letter along with my resume to those places? How long do people usually stage for? What do you expect at a stage and what do they expect of you?

I am hoping that some you out there who has either done a stage or accepted a stage could give me some pointers.

And if your bakery/restaurant would accept a stage, I would like to know too :rolleyes: I am a passionate and dedicated pastry assistant, with over 6 years of professional baking and pastry experience, and always wanting to learn more!

Thanks!

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HERE'S an interesting previous topic that you'll find helpful. I'm getting closer to wanting to do this as well, so I'm glad you asked.

Alas, not all of us get to blog about Pierre Herme and end up staging in Paris like FannytheFairy. :raz:

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Qui, you have the right idea about writing a professional cover letter expressing your desires. A resume will also help. Since you live overseas, calling can be cost prohibitive, but I would also recommend attempting to speak to someone in person. Many years ago (1999) I was on vacation in New York City and was able to stage at about five restaurants with pastry chefs that I admired. Luckily, I'm in the business and a friend/mentor of mine helped me out with a couple of them. For the other ones, I just cold-called on my own and it was never a problem. Pastry chefs are always happy to have free (good help is hard to find) labor.

With regard to what is expected of you: you'll have to read the situation when you get there. Sometimes, they want/expect you to just jump right in and get to work with everyone else. There will probably be little explanation of what is going on. Also, expect that you're in their way (not part of their routine to have time to 'train' someone who is only going to be there for a day or a week at the longest) and try to be professional and get out of the way when possible. Sometimes, they expect you to just stand around and watch from the sidelines. Most of the chefs I've staged for will expect that you have some restaurant experience, so you should be fine. It is unlikely that they will accept a stage who isn't already in the industry (sorry gfron1)...unless they're feeling particularly charitable.

I recommend keeping your eyes open and your mouth shut. Get to know the work area without having to ask a ton of questions as this will only annoy. Ask smart questions when you do open your mouth. I know it sounds harsh, but they are in a high pressure environment to get their work done in a quick and efficient manner and any interruption can mean throwing off a production schedule.

Qui, I also realize that English isn't your native language. While you post in fairly passable English, please make sure that your cover letter and resume are edited by an English speaker if possible. How is your conversational English? I assume it is pretty good as you seem to not have a problem understanding responses to your posts. That is good. If you have a hard time, brush up a bit before you go on your trip. But of course, kitchen language is sort of universal :wink: .

Good luck!

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