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MatthewG123
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I’m a fifteen year old living just outside London and have recently managed to secure a week’s work experience at Hibiscus in the summer. I am delighted by this and I am really eager to learn more about food. Cooking is an industry I am really keen to get into. I watch food television regularly and cook when I can (usually at weekends).

Also are there any cookbooks you recommend reading in helping me to build my basic skills?

There is also a Michelin starred restaurant relatively local to me that has said they will keep me informed of any weekend jobs available. Do you suggest I apply somewhere more basic as well or should I try and keep nagging the restaurant into finding a place for me?

I'm happy to work for free.

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Hi Matthew,

I shouldn't really be replying as I don't have a clue where you could go.

But I just wanted to say I think it is fantastic that you are going for it - given my time again I would love to have a crack at working my way up the kitchen hierarchy.

Hope it goes well mate, all the very best and keep us posted.

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It sounds like you've got a wonderful opportunity w/ your summer stint at Hibiscus, my son is just a bit younger than you & interested in food as well, here's my advice, for what it's worth-

-read everything you can, not just cookbooks- newspapers, novels, know what's going on...

-cook as much as you can-meals for your family, help with the shopping (so you know costs), treats to share w/ friends

-don't neglect your schoolwork, it's great that you have a focused ambition, use your schoolwork to support that

-a weekend job would be enough right now, you can form good work habits-showing up all the time, doing 'scut' work, learning to work w/ a group

I started working p/t as a waitress when I was 15, & continued while I was in college, it was valuable training in how to conduct myself in the workplace, & I learned a great deal. I hope my son (who is interested in food, cooking, & service) will show the same initiative that you have, in going after a position that he's interested in-Good luck!

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I don't know about England, but I was in a similar boat stateside, looking for a summer job in cooking at 18. I worked in an amazing kitchen helping with prep and dishes, and it was really wonderful. Just dive in, ask for work, send out a million emails, knock on doors, offer to work for free if you can afford it because you'll get to be in better places, and just make sure you bring 110% to every day of work. When you're that young it can often be hard to earn others' respect in a kitchen, and the only way to do it is to let everyone know that you're serious. As for cookbooks, its got a lot that's outdated, but I still think that Jaques Pepin's _La Technique_ is a great one to start with. I would just work through it, try things out, make dinner for your family on weekends, and see how it goes.

La Technique Here's a link to the newer edition of the book, which you can get for pretty cheap. Hopefully he updated it a little so it isn't still full of aspics and mousses....

Good luck!

“Ruling a great state is like cooking a small fish.”

Those who favor leniency say [it means] “do not disturb it too much”; those who favor strictness say “give it salt and vinegar, that’s it.”

~Huainanzi, ch. 11

http://ladolcejenny.blogspot.com

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  • 1 month later...

Thats great! start early (I wish i had started earlier)if you can find someone who will pay you great, if not work for free!

you are young and thats how you get into the kitchen young. just make sure to watch EVERYTHING. you will learn a lot... always be willing to do what needs to be done, show up early, stay late (if they tell you to come in at 3, show up at noon (for free) and do whatever they want.

always say yes chef for the good the bad or the ugly... very important in a lot of kitchens... and read, read, read!

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Such a young age. Remember this two word answers "yes chef" "no chef" "sorry chef".

Is this the restraunt. If so nice I would work for free they will teach you more and won't yell at you that much. Always watch what people are doing (this is how you learn even thou your not doing it), ask them what they are doing (at an appropriate time of course), and ask to taste what they are making. When the chef is mad don't look up and don't laugh... I started at 18 now I am 19 and I learned that a month ago. Another cook told me to not look up and what does my dumbass do? look up and go check the stove to see if the food is cooked not a good idea. Almosted had my hand burned off when Chef kicked the door. lol

Edited by joseph3 (log)
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In July I am going to be spending a week at Hibiscus (2*) in London which is something I am really looking forward to. I am fifteen and still at school but would like to spend some of my summer holiday on an internship at a top restaurant in order to further my knowledge of food and cooking ability as well as gaining an insight into how a top restaurant operates. I understand that this will be unpaid and this doesn't bother me in the slightest as I want the experience not money.

Does anyone have any tips or advice as to how to get myself an internship at a top restaurant?

Many thanks.

Write to the chef. It worked for me. But im older and living in America, so im not sure how that will translate. If they dont reply, write again. Or knock on their door and be persistent, not annoying.

Best of luck.

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  • 2 weeks later...
I’m a fifteen year old living just outside London and have recently managed to secure a week’s work experience at Hibiscus in the summer. I am delighted by this and I am really eager to learn more about food. Cooking is an industry I am really keen to get into. I watch food television regularly and cook when I can (usually at weekends).

Also are there any cookbooks you recommend reading in helping me to build my basic skills?

There is also a Michelin starred restaurant relatively local to me that has said they will keep me informed of any weekend jobs available. Do you suggest I apply somewhere more basic as well or should I try and keep nagging the restaurant into finding a place for me?

I'm happy to work for free.

Haha, thats a brilliant oppurtunity! I used to work for Claude part-time when i was 15 doing general KP work back when he was in ludlow. I followed on from there and did a weeks work experience and just fell in love with the trade, he eventually moved to London, so i got a job with the new restaurant (La Becasse).

Ive now done 7 months full-time work as an apprentice and have just in the last month taken over the Larder section. Im learning shit loads everyday, general 'cooking' as it were, straight through to the general kitchen environment!

My advice to you is to start at the top, its a hard life, and you won't know how incredibly hard it is until you knuckle down and have a shot. You're gonna have to make some serious sacrafices to you life, you can forget having a majorly active social life and any relationships, at first, with be tainted from the start. If this is what you want to do, the best way of doing is sticking with it when it seems at the most difficult and just keep on clocking up those hours, every day is another one under the belt.

I wish you all the best, and keep us posted :)!

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There is also a Michelin starred restaurant relatively local to me that has said they will keep me informed of any weekend jobs available. Do you suggest I apply somewhere more basic as well or should I try and keep nagging the restaurant into finding a place for me?

I'm happy to work for free.

Without a doubt keep nagging. Minimally I strongly suggest only working with good-great chefs in good-great kitchens, especially if you don't need the money. In 12 months we have hired and fired at least 15 cooks. For the most part they are no good because they learned the wrong things and now can't be re-taught.

My other suggestion--when a chef asks you what you are good at it's better to say "nothing, but I'm ready to learn" than "everything" and then not cook to his/her liking.

Best of luck.

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