Before talking about the advantage of the training, the importance of a career in the world of French fine restaurants should first be emphasized.
It is a career that has many advantages:
- The opportunities are plenty! There’s a scarcity of skilled labor in top-notch restaurants so you will always have a job!
- There’s a variety of career opportunities: consultant; professor; and/or owning your own store. There are significantly more job possibilities for a good culinary arts technician than one could imagine.
- It is fulfilling! A career as a head chef or pastry chef means to become a gastronomy artist who expresses himself or herself through his or her creation and who gives pleasure to others.
- You will discover the world easily! The reputation of the French training (especially in French cuisine) is such that you can easily find work anywhere in the world.
- There’s rapid promotion! With great effort and hard work, you can easily and quickly rise to the top and see your earnings grow in the same way…
- It offers you the opportunity to be your own boss! Once you acquire significant experience in major restaurants (“big houses”), it’s entirely possible to open your own restaurant or store.
With these benefits in mind, after an extensive training through the internship, your professional orientation process will be completed.
While the practical courses give a real insight into the technical and creative part of the chef or the pastry chef’s profession, the internship enables students to discover the reality on the ground.
Please note, it is important to recognize the difference that exists between learning in a cooking or baking school and the day-to-day reality of working in a company. When in school, you will be taught “academic techniques;” in an internship you will be faced with “real life.” You will learn to manage stress and pressure, work and organize yourself in a team, and live with a high intensity workload (intensive work). These many components will strengthen and transform you into a true professional.
An internship is a great experience since it is something tangible and concrete.
The students’ know-how comes face to face with real conditions. Knowing how to successfully complete a recipe in a school kitchen under the watchful eye of the professor is one thing. Knowing how to accomplish it with the same result in a more confined kitchen, with the stress of a customer waiting to be served and the chef shouting orders is another!…
Therefore, living this experience allows the student to gain confidence, refine his or her skills, learn new ones through the advice of professionals whom he/she worked alongside, and to determine the real possibility (or not) for him/her to make a career in this field.
If the internship is done in a reputable restaurant (which has one or more Michelin stars for example), it will enormously enhance the future professional’s CV. A good internship is often the best business card.
An internship also enables the student to start building a professional network that can be a great help to him or her in the future. As it is common for employers to contact the former workplace of their “possible future employee” in order to get feedback and advice from a colleague, the simple fact of doing an internship is not enough. One’s behavior and attitude must be beyond reproach and he/she must have been deeply invested, committed to their work 100%.
Gourmet internships can be accomplished in a store, a restaurant, a hotel or a hotel restaurants. These last two are the most “practical,” as students are hosted by the hotel company, and this represents a significant savings for the student.
Some schools offer complete packages, including practical courses, French courses and an internship.