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10 rules for being the perfect intern

The arrival of a new staff intern is always a time of great doubt. I mean, we never know what kind of person and professional we get.

Sometimes it goes well, and we come across some a tireless and curious student, a sort of mixture between a pack mule and a newly hatched butterfly. At other times, you are less fortunate and you run into rather problematic characters; from frightened big babies in need of cuddles to knowing-it-all characters who believe to be the new Bocuse. Unfortunately for the latter, there is no solution, but for all the other young chefs and pastry chefs who are beginning to build their work experience, I'd like to share ten simple rules.

It is mostly a simple handbook that will help you to impress your Chef, look at your internship from the right perspective and, above all, take a step closer to becoming one of the professionals in our industry.





1. ALWAYS ARRIVE 15 MINUTES EARLIER

If your shift starts at 8 am, try to arrive in uniform every day at 7:45 am. I guarantee you that punctuality is one of those aspects that strikes a Chef the most!


2. WELCOME THE SILENCE

Don't talk while working; at least for the first few days, keep your head down and wait for one of your superiors to talk to you, at that point you have already proven to be a good intern.


3. DO EVERYTHING WITHOUT ARGUING

Being the last wheel of the wagon (that's right, get used to it) you'll have to do all those boring and mechanical jobs. We have all done them before you. Obey and perform without arguing, try to be faster each day, so you can have time to do something more exciting.


4. LOOK AROUND

Get used to looking at what you are doing with one eye and what others do with the other. If you have time, ask questions and take notes. Some are protective of their secrets, but most of us love our work and are eager to talk about it.


5. CLEAN WORK

Choose a space as small as possible for you to work, and get used to never working beyond those centimetres. A nice clean and perfumed uniform along with a dry cloth are your best friends.


6. YOU ARE ON STAGE

Even if you feel like being a cook or pastry chef makes no difference, you are still a rock star. You should feel this way from the moment you enter the kitchen/laboratory, with a clean uniform, a well-made beard while talking quickly, loudly and firmly!


7. YOUR OPINION ...

Is worth zero ... the idea that you made about your workplace or your colleagues does not necessarily correspond to reality, and you don't have the means yet to understand the dynamics. So do not take part in factions in the kitchen, if there are any, do not gossip about those who are not there and do not judge the work of your superiors, especially your Chef!


8. HOURS

Do not watch the clock all the time, unless it is to monitor how long it took you to peel some oranges. Every now and then it's good to sacrifice a few hours extra beyond your eight working hours to help your colleagues, maybe try to redo that cool dish you saw earlier on Pinterest, or simply do some extra cleaning.


9. FOCUS

If you are doing an internship, you will most likely be around 20 years old and away from home. You will have a great desire to party, go out, discover the world ... Well, it’s fine, but remember that in the morning at 8 AM you are on duty and maybe you need a little rest.


10. SEE THE LONG RUN

Finally, always remember that no Chef is interested in having just an intern. Instead, he prefers to have a loyal person, a team player who doesn't leave him in a mess and works hard. Everything else can be learned … With the right attitude, the chef can become a lifelong ally and mentor for your future career.


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Mauro Di Lieto

Pastry chef

Making life sweeter in luxury hotels

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