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Sher.eats

Stagiere fantasies of a...

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hey everybody!!

I'm a chef de partie @ L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon Hong Kong, been only working in this industry for a year (previously was a undergrad of nutritional sciences).

I want to ask how difficult is it to get a stagiere placement in 3 michelin-level restaurants of Paris or one of Thomas Keller's institutions?

"difficult" as in 1) "availability vs competition" and 2) "work permit/documentation"

1) I'm aged 21, I started off in L'atelier (today, last year) as a kitchen helper (summer job) but stayed on and got promoted to my current position. I did not go to cooking school (there wasn't one in hong kong) but was always a foodie (thanks eG).

How "unqualified" am I to ask for a stagerie at 3-star restaurants?

2) I'm a dual-citizen of Canada and Hong Kong, is this problematic for working in US or France?

THANKS EVERYONE!!


~ Sher * =]

. . . . .I HEART FOOD. . . . .

Sleep 'til you're hungry, eat 'til you're sleepy. - Anon

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Canada and France have a reciprocal Youth Exchange Agreement for those between the ages of 18 and 35. For a stage, you could probably try for either a general Working Holiday Visa, or for Young Professional Development. I'm not sure how dual citizenship or that you are not currently a resident of Canada would impact your application, but no harm in asking the embassy.

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Be prepared to write lots of letters and don't give up! I believe Thomas Keller has a a fairly long waiting list but what an experience that would be. If your looking at going to Yountville, its a great location with lots of food interests for a chef. His kitchen is also fantastic, you would learn an awful lot. Also bear in mind you will have to finance the whole experience and may have arrange your own accomadation. Hope that helps in some way.

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As a chef de partie at a Robuchon restaurant, I think you would get a "go to the front of the line" pass at any restaurant in the US.


Edited by Timh (log)

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hey TimH, food1, prasantri, thx for replying!!

http://www.tkrg.org/category.php?id=1 is the careers page for Thomas Keller Restaurant Group, problem is I can't find info on staging. Is it a bad idea to call and ask?

Does staging = no pay (of any sort whatsoever), how about meals etc? or there's no industry standard and its restaurant by restaurant. (here in Hong Kong, you get a basic $10 USD "transport" fee per day, meals are provided).

Has anyone staged in US and France and can tell me the differences?

finally: how long do stages usually last? days, weeks, months? or is it stay until you annoy the chef.....

once again thanks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


~ Sher * =]

. . . . .I HEART FOOD. . . . .

Sleep 'til you're hungry, eat 'til you're sleepy. - Anon

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Why stage? With your experience you should shoot for a paying position.

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hey TimH, food1, prasantri, thx for replying!!

http://www.tkrg.org/category.php?id=1 is the careers page for Thomas Keller Restaurant Group, problem is I can't find info on staging. Is it a bad idea to call and ask?

Does staging = no pay (of any sort whatsoever), how about meals etc? or there's no industry standard and its restaurant by restaurant. (here in Hong Kong, you get a basic $10 USD "transport" fee per day, meals are provided).

Has anyone staged in US and France and can tell me the differences?

finally: how long do stages usually last? days, weeks, months? or is it stay until you annoy the chef.....

once again thanks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I personally never have staged in France, but I've had friends who did their internship out there and staged around and what they've told me that it's really important that you speak the language, so you can communicate. Because from what I heard that chefs in France get really upset when you speak bastardize french. Far as stagging in the US, I have to agree with TimH with your experiance you could probably get a paying job anywhere all you have to do is shoot for the top.

"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast"

Oscar Wilde

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I agree with Tim about you being able to find a paid position, but if your working at Robuchon I don't see why they wouldn't set you up for a stage somewhere. You should let the chef know where you are looking to work and have them help you. I recently finished a stage at RYUGIN in Tokyo and you have to call these places and write constantly if you don't have a connection . Being so close to Japan Robuchon has a 3star restaurant in Tokyo which I'm sure you can get the upper hand on. What kind of cuisine do you want to specialize in should also dictate where you want to stage. Gagniere also has a restaurant in Tokyo as well as Michel Bras up north of Tokyo. Depending on the place will depend on your arrangements. In Tokyo I got room and board as well as El Bulli, But at THe Fat Duck I paid my own way same in Paris. So save your money. Travel Light.

hope that helps

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hi mjmchef, Chefb28, TimR (again)!!!

I'm thinking about staging because I want to leave robuchon HK, this is because I am no longer learning much here and I think the standard of cuisine is falling.

I have a job offer from hotel restaurant of four seasons hong kong (common consensus is 2 Michelin star (book out in dec), compared to l'atelier 1 or even 0). I also have a good connection and likely a offer from Robuchon Macau (3 star definite) but they will be renovating and will be reopening and hiring next year September.

There's more...

Robuchon is having a new L'atelier in a new country (sorry can't tell =( ) and so far I've been asked if I want to move there. If I do, I will probably have a 1 to 2 level promotion but have to stay for 1 year at least. But I will be teaching people instead of me learning.

(thanks for reading up to here!)

so my options are:

- stay in HK robuchon, transfer to new L'atelier in March 09 w promotion, work 1 year, hopefully the executive chef there will care and help me transfer to Paris or Tokyo

- transfer to four seasons hong kong, work for 1 year, transfer to Le Cinq four seasons paris (this transfer is confirmed) and take it from there

- stay in HK robuchon or transfer to four seasons, but then transfer next year to Robuchon macau (i'm not sure about loyalty issues....)

hard decision, so for the mean time I want to take a 1 month stage!

The problem with my "qualifications" is: i've only been in this industry for 1 year (promoted fast because I speak french and thanks to eG was already very familiar with food on day 1, retrograding potato for potato for robuchon mash, sous vide etc, put another way, the other people was crap not that I'm good) but I did not go to cooking school. so my resume is thin...

THANK YOU!!!

edited to remove "unnecessary details" (thanks Abra, gfron1)


Edited by Sher.eats (log)

~ Sher * =]

. . . . .I HEART FOOD. . . . .

Sleep 'til you're hungry, eat 'til you're sleepy. - Anon

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Wow you have lots of opportunity in front of you. You are young and really, its ok to work up through the kitchen without formal training. Your skill, ability, reputation and passion will get you there. I would go for the new opening and better position. If you do well, you will be groomed for bigger and better.


Veni Vidi Vino - I came, I saw, I drank.

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hi mjmchef, Chefb28, TimR (again)!!!

I'm thinking about staging because I want to leave robuchon HK, this is because I am no longer learning much here and I think the standard of cuisine is falling.

I have a job offer from hotel restaurant of four seasons hong kong (common consensus is 2 Michelin star (book out in dec), compared to l'atelier 1 or even 0). I also have a good connection and likely a offer from Robuchon Macau (3 star definite) but they will be renovating and will be reopening and hiring next year September.

There's more...

Robuchon is having a new L'atelier in a new country (sorry can't tell =( ) and so far I've been asked if I want to move there. If I do, I will probably have a 1 to 2 level promotion but have to stay for 1 year at least. But I will be teaching people instead of me learning.

(thanks for reading up to here!)

so my options are:

- stay in HK robuchon, transfer to new L'atelier in March 09 w promotion, work 1 year, hopefully the executive chef there will care and help me transfer to Paris or Tokyo

- transfer to four seasons hong kong, work for 1 year, transfer to Le Cinq four seasons paris (this transfer is confirmed) and take it from there

- stay in HK robuchon or transfer to four seasons, but then transfer next year to Robuchon macau (i'm not sure about loyalty issues....)

hard decision, so for the mean time I want to take a 1 month stage!

The problem with my "qualifications" is: i've only been in this industry for 1 year (promoted fast because I speak french and thanks to eG was already very familiar with food on day 1, retrograding potato for potato for robuchon mash, sous vide etc, put another way, the other people was crap not that I'm good) but I did not go to cooking school. so my resume is thin...

THANK YOU!!!

edited to remove "unnecessary details" (thanks Abra, gfron1)

hey Sher - I'm sorry I can't help with any advice, but I was wondering what the Robuchon method was for retrograding potatoes for the puree... is it similar to the Fat Duck method? What temps for how long? Do you do the retrograde step sous-vide in the vacuum bag, or are the potatoes immersed in water to do it? Thanks!

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hey TimH, food1, prasantri, thx for replying!!

http://www.tkrg.org/category.php?id=1 is the careers page for Thomas Keller Restaurant Group, problem is I can't find info on staging. Is it a bad idea to call and ask?

Does staging = no pay (of any sort whatsoever), how about meals etc? or there's no industry standard and its restaurant by restaurant. (here in Hong Kong, you get a basic $10 USD "transport" fee per day, meals are provided).

Has anyone staged in US and France and can tell me the differences?

finally: how long do stages usually last? days, weeks, months? or is it stay until you annoy the chef.....

once again thanks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Im working for a month at Highlands Bar and Grill in Birmingham, Al. They are paying me a little bit each week.

I do need to have my own living arrangements though. Im not sure about meals.

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You could transfer to Robuchon at the Mansion in Las Vegas (3 michelin star) probably an easy job for you to get. Then once that is on your resume, you can probably go anywhere you want pretty easily.

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hi mjmchef, Chefb28, TimR (again)!!!

I'm thinking about staging because I want to leave robuchon HK, this is because I am no longer learning much here and I think the standard of cuisine is falling.

I have a job offer from hotel restaurant of four seasons hong kong (common consensus is 2 Michelin star (book out in dec), compared to l'atelier 1 or even 0). I also have a good connection and likely a offer from Robuchon Macau (3 star definite) but they will be renovating and will be reopening and hiring next year September.

There's more...

Robuchon is having a new L'atelier in a new country (sorry can't tell =( ) and so far I've been asked if I want to move there. If I do, I will probably have a 1 to 2 level promotion but have to stay for 1 year at least. But I will be teaching people instead of me learning.

(thanks for reading up to here!)

so my options are:

- stay in HK robuchon, transfer to new L'atelier in March 09 w promotion, work 1 year, hopefully the executive chef there will care and help me transfer to Paris or Tokyo

- transfer to four seasons hong kong, work for 1 year, transfer to Le Cinq four seasons paris (this transfer is confirmed) and take it from there

- stay in HK robuchon or transfer to four seasons, but then transfer next year to Robuchon macau (i'm not sure about loyalty issues....)

hard decision, so for the mean time I want to take a 1 month stage!

The problem with my "qualifications" is: i've only been in this industry for 1 year (promoted fast because I speak french and thanks to eG was already very familiar with food on day 1, retrograding potato for potato for robuchon mash, sous vide etc, put another way, the other people was crap not that I'm good) but I did not go to cooking school. so my resume is thin...

THANK YOU!!!

edited to remove "unnecessary details" (thanks Abra, gfron1)

Getting to the a 3-star establishment isn't easy. Even the dishwashers need Michilen experience, but working at Robuchon in Hong Kong is definitely a good start to your resume. My opinion, if I were already in the Robuchon circle, I would bust butt and tough it out for another year. Who knows, you could get another promotion and you would definitely get the experience. Staying-power in the restaurant business is rather rare. People are always coming and going. No doubt, that if you put in the time, that someone in the Rubichon world will write you/call you in a great recommendation to a restaurant of your choice. Stay long enough, since you're bilingual, who's to say that you won't get a shot at being a sous chef at one of the 3-star restaurants JR owns? Work your connections and resources to your advantage. Put in your time and build a resume and you just might be staging at El Bulli. Sky is the limit. Best of luck!


Edited by nchang (log)

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If you've already worked there for a year I would just go and ask the chef if he can set up one for you. If he doesn't start writing emails and letters tot he places you are interested in, it worked for me.

YOU SPEAK FRENCH!! That is so valuable in this industry, I wish I spoke French!! Call and write some places in France I guarantee some will let you go stage! Having experience in a foreign country at Robuchon is already a big deal.

Like I said just try...call, write, email, w/e you need to do to set it up yourself, shoot for the biggest and just see if they respond. Trust me it works. you are offering to go work for free, someone will give you an opportunity.

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