Thoughts For Food

Insights into the Mind of a Culinary School Student

Life In The CIA: My Externship, Continued

Oh boy, do I have one heck of an update for you guys!

So, I’m about halfway through my externship right now. Nine weeks down, nine to go! After a rather slow start, I am having a wonderful time and learning a lot. Like one of my coworkers said to me after dinner service one night; I am actually getting a much more well-rounded externship experience than most baking & pastry externs, mostly because I’m working and assisting with many aspects of the culinary side of a restaurant. This is the one aspect of my extern that I am extremely thankful for, because this is hands-on experience that I know I can’t get anywhere else. It’s great stuff!

Also, there’s one more thing I forgot to mention in my last entry for all you aspiring chefs out there. The single most important bit of advice I can give you before you step foot in the kitchen: Get a sense of humor. Seriously! This will save you from many a practical joke and it will just make your experience that much better and, most importantly, more fun and enjoyable.

There are MANY funny and very vulgar jokes that are made in the kitchens. For example, I am Asian, and therefore, I’m subject to all the stereotypical Asian jokes and bits of humor. One of my coworkers asked me to call him “Doctor Jones” a la Shortround from Indiana Jones. Get used to humor like that. It honestly is quite funny after a while. Also, if you’re an extern, like me. Be prepared to be sent on a LOT of wild goose chases. The senior kitchen staff will have you running all over the place looking for items and equipment that really doesn’t exist. I like to think it’s to keep you on your toes and always thinking, but in reality, it’s probably just for entertainment. Finally, you need to learn to just laugh at anything that comes your way.

For example, one of the kitchen staff, the Garde Manger chef I work with, actually used the back/dull edge of a Paring Knife to (attempt) to cut a poached egg, which of course, resulted in a huge mess on the plate. Everyone had a good laugh about it. All in good fun, as it were. You see? Have fun and BOND with your coworkers. The job will become mush easier and more bearable this way! This is a fact that I’ve had to learn the hard way, sadly, but I have indeed learned my lesson…even though it involved me saying “Herro” many times over. Ahh stereotypes…


Author: NJ_Chef

A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America and aspiring food-writer. 28-year old chef, blogger, eSports fan, gamer, jack-of-all-trades and master of none.

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