"Discover Cooking, Discuss Life."

Go Back   Discuss Cooking - Cooking Forums > The Back Porch > Off Topic Discussions
Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 10-25-2006, 05:52 AM   #1
Executive Chef
 
ironchef's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: The SPAM eating capital of the world.
Posts: 3,558
Chef or Sommelier?

This is one of the coolest letters I've ever gotten. Well, at least recently. I've been offered to apply for a 3 month wine externship at one of Thomas Keller's restaurants. I don't know if I can afford 3 months of not getting paid, not to mention my work probably won't let me take off for that long. Do you guys think I should try for this or what? I mean basically, for 3 months, I'll get to eat the food and try the wine at The French Laundry, Per Se, or one of Thomas Keller's other restaurants.


__________________

__________________
"Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it."
Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
ironchef is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-25-2006, 06:03 AM   #2
Executive Chef
 
VeraBlue's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: northern NJ
Posts: 3,683
Congratulations! You do have a dilemma, don't you? Hard choice, indeed.

This past week, my boyfriend read me an article from the Philadelphia Enquirer, (their daily paper) regarding sommeliers in that city. Apparently, there are only 6 in the entire city. On average, they work 70 hour work weeks, earning approximately $50k.
Granted, Philly is not the wine capital of the world, but it is a city, nevertheless, and the pay scale is probably only slightly less than another major city. There are restaurants of quality in Philly, like Le Bec Fin.

Anyway, my point is, if this is a dream, go for it now before it's too late and you miss this opportunity. It's hard to make no money for three months, though. I'm sure you've considered your options, financially, so I won't ask about that. The last thing I want to say, regarding the letter, is that it sounds, to me, like they are looking for a 'just about to graduate' person to do quite a bit of grunt work. I expect you've done your share of grunt work already, yes?

I've always pictured the sommeliers as ethereal types of people who can tell you more about a grape than the vines, themselves. I see it as a well earned title of respect and education.

How do you feel about the title you've already earned? Would you consider trading it for another? I'd love to know which way you are leaning. And, good luck.
__________________

__________________
How can we sleep while our beds are burning???
VeraBlue is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-25-2006, 06:18 AM   #3
Executive Chef
 
ironchef's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: The SPAM eating capital of the world.
Posts: 3,558
Quote:
Originally Posted by VeraBlue
The last thing I want to say, regarding the letter, is that it sounds, to me, like they are looking for a 'just about to graduate' person to do quite a bit of grunt work. I expect you've done your share of grunt work already, yes?
LOL that's the thing. I don't need to do this if I want to be a sommelier. I basically just need to pass the next two levels of the MS exam. I just mainly got excited because I've never eaten at any of Thomas Keller's restaurants and I know that with most any externship, the employer feeds you since you're not getting paid. Plus, I've seen their wine list and it's outstanding. And lastly, it would be a killer thing to put on a resume.

From what I heard, sommeliers in restaurants make a large part of their money through tips, either directly from the guest or they get tipped out by the waitstaff. That's probably not included in the reported earnings since they don't have to declare tips since technically they don't have any sales. But I know a couple of guys who are wine reps and do wine consulting for several restaurants and they make a pretty good salary.

But thanks for your feedback. It is appreciated because I'm probably 80/20 on this; the 20 that I'd do it. I'm not even decided as to whether or not to take the next level of the MS Exam, mainly because of the cost and the very limited availability.
__________________
"Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it."
Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
ironchef is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-25-2006, 06:34 AM   #4
Sous Chef
 
cliveb's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Caracas, Venezuela
Posts: 655
Well done, Ironchef!
I don't "know" you well enough to offer any personal advice, but I will say this.
Opportunities like this do not occur every day. In fact, they may be once in a lifetime. If you are young, ambitious, driven, and really interested in the thought of becoming a fully-fledged Sommelier: GO for it! You may well look back in a few years time and regret not having done so!
__________________
cliveb is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-25-2006, 06:39 AM   #5
Senior Cook
 
Anne's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: San Francisco, California
Posts: 188
Congratulations, IronChef! Thomas Keller is one of my heroes. The French Laundry isn't very far from where I live, but I've never had the privelege of eating there. To be given the opportunity to train at the French Laundry would be a dream come true for most people -- at least the people who know of it -- and I would think it would open doors for you in the future. Whatever you decide to do, best wishes to you!
__________________
Anne is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-25-2006, 07:50 AM   #6
Assistant Cook
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 1,694
Resume item = great
3 months no pay and no job to return to
Probably immediately employable= yes
No certificate credit=?
Our daughter is currently on the second leg of the MS. She is already in an excellent restaurant situation where she can do many of the things they are offering--and probably call some of the shots herself.

However, if you did this you would be gathering chef info also which might be more of an aid to you than the final MS certificate.
Aside from the honor of it, do you have any idea of how you were chosen?
__________________
Gretchen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-25-2006, 09:02 AM   #7
Head Chef
 
Chopstix's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Singapore
Posts: 1,323
IC, I've dined at Bouchon in Las Vegas. Food and service were excellent. The ambience was that of a very charming French bistro. Even Anthony Bourdain raved about this restaurant, especially their Roast Chicken.

Whichever path you choose to take, good luck!
__________________
'Never eat more than you can lift.' - Miss Piggy
Chopstix is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-25-2006, 09:14 AM   #8
Head Chef
 
lulu's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: England
Posts: 2,039
How exciting! Congratulations for receiving the offer.

If your leaning is against accepting it, then perhaps you have already made your decision? Only you know. All I can say is, both DH and I did undergrad degrees that we do not use, they were both to a greater degree vocational and we don't either of care to continue alont that path. DH's continues to be useful because people are just impressed with his degree and where he got it. Your oppertunity seems it could fall into this category.
__________________
In omnibus amor et iustum
lulu is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-25-2006, 09:43 AM   #9
Master Chef
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Metro New York
Posts: 8,764
Send a message via Yahoo to ChefJune
My next educational adventure is going to be the Master Sommelier program!

I'm very impressed. and I think if you can take this opp, you will reap rewards for the rest of your career. Thomas Keller is one of the most highly regarded chefs/restaurateurs in the world, not just US.... probably the most highly regarded American chef/restaurateur in the world, and having that experience on your resume will be priceless.

I understand, however, not being able to do stuff like this financially.....

Good luck whatever you decide! Please keep us informed!
__________________
Wine is the food that completes the meal.
ChefJune is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-25-2006, 09:51 AM   #10
Master Chef
 
PA Baker's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: USA, Pennsylvania
Posts: 6,000
IC, whatever you decide, congratulations! You should be proud of yourself. Are you happy with the job you have now? I know you made that move only a couple months ago, which I'm sure makes it hard to make another big switch already.

Please keep us posted on what you decide!
__________________

__________________
-A balanced diet is a cookie in each hand
PA Baker is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



» Discuss Cooking on Facebook

Our Communities

Our communities encompass many different hobbies and interests, but each one is built on friendly, intelligent membership.

» More about our Communities

Automotive Communities

Our Automotive communities encompass many different makes and models. From U.S. domestics to European Saloons.

» More about our Automotive Communities

Marine Communities

Our Marine websites focus on Cruising and Sailing Vessels, including forums and the largest cruising Wiki project on the web today.

» More about our Marine Communities


Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 09:59 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2016, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.