In the culinary world, a stage is basically working for free in a restaurant's kitchen for a full work's day or even multiple days. It's used for aspiring chefs to learn or it acts like an interview for a job.
Yesterday I made my way to Greenwich Village to Mas (Farmhouse) to stage.
I have never staged at a restaurant of this caliber so to say i wasn't nervous would be a slight understatement.
I took the subway (and didn't get lost) down to the area near the restaurant and had 45 minutes to kill. I was really hoping to find a bagel shop and FINALLY get a new york bagel, but my nerves seemed to get me in a tizzy and instead, I landed in Blue Ribbon Bakery. I got a cappuccino and a blueberry clif bar from a near by liquor store.
|very very good cap|
As I sat outside on a bench, a couple walking by headed into the bakery. The gentleman had a beautiful Nikon camera around his neck. He took it off and started to take photos of the bakery. Soon after he started to ask me questions about my pants. (I was wearing checkered pants) I explained that I was staging at a nearby restaurant etc. His wife came out mid conversation. Before I knew it, he asked to take my photo! It was so random, yet extremely exciting. They were so sweet and encouraging. They wished me luck, which warmed my soul. I love meeting random people in the city.
I spent the night plating the amuse bouche and a bit of the cold appetizers. The restaurant was amazing, the food was fresh and local and the service was smooth. I loved being in the tiny kitchen.
I haled a cab, got on the 90 minute train ride back to Hyde Park and dozily hopped in bed.
What an amazing experience. I can't wait to finish school and work in the real world. Ahhh
By the way, I have had many people talk to me about how much they "wish" they could go to culinary school or get into the industry, but feel like it's too late. Whether it's because they're already in school, have a career or it's not to their parent's standards, they "cant" do it.
First of all, it's true, if it makes you happy and you're not bad at it, doing what you love outweighs ALL other career choices. You have one life. Do what you want.
Second, if you're seriously thinking about it or just want to see what it's like, you can stage too. Call up a local restaurant, speak with the chef, explain your interest. They might say no, but they'll most likely like to share their passion with you and someone peeling potatoes for free works nicely for them. You probably won't do anything big (liability issues) but you'll see what it's like. I did this is my little town for a few months. I loved it. I knew that culinary school was the path I wanted to take once I saw what it's like to be in a kitchen.