Taking Center Stage

I've chopped and diced vegetables, quartered chickens and ducks, degreased veal and fish stocks, and done about everything else in between for months at the French Culinary Institute. Now it's time to take, albeit a baby step, into a professional (aka-"real world") kitchen.

I plan to do an internship this summer, but the first step is completing a "stage." That's the term we use when a person works (for free) in a chef's kitchen either as a tryout or to learn new skills.

Luckily, there are plenty of restaurants looking for interns in New York City. But my question is: Would working in a smaller kitchen for my first internship be more beneficial? Or does going to a four-star kitchen with all its name recognition mean a better learning experience for me? The smaller kitchen might give me more responsibility while the bigger place may have me peeling endless amounts of garlic.

I have one classmate interning at a Jean-Georges restaurant, and she loves the experience. Sure, she said, she's mostly doing mindless prep work (grating beets, turning artichokes), but she's learned a lot just by watching. I've had other friends interning at smaller restaurants who do everything from working the garde manager station to cooking grill meats on a busy night.

I'm not sure which route to take, but I've set up some stages and will give you guys a glimpse into my experience.

Featured Culinary Schools

Refine School Matches
Hide filters

    See More


    See More



    Please enter valid US or Canada Zip.
            Results open in new window

            Searching Searching ...

            Matching School Ads
            5 Program(s) Found
            • Alumni have appeared in reality competition shows such as Top Chef and Project Runway.
            • Has a team of about 4,000 faculty members focused on helping students tap opportunities in a marketplace driven by ideas.
            • Offers programs in design, media arts, fashion, and culinary.
            • Provides program coordinators who work with students to ensure they have the learning materials, assignments, facilities, and faculty to get the most out of the program.
            • Over 50 campus locations nationwide.
            Show more [+]
            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            1 Program(s) Found
            • Provides students the opportunity to train at home in their spare time to get their high school diploma, train for a new career, or enhance current skills.
            • Offers programs in psychology/social work, business management, medical billing, criminal justice, and more.
            • Member of the United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA), the Canadian Network for Innovation in Education (CNIE), and the International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE).
            • Features a fully flexible schedule with no classes to attend, leaving the study pace up to the student.
            Show more [+]
            • Online Courses
            4 Program(s) Found
            • Its first location, in Paris, officially opened its doors as a culinary school in 1895.
            • Teaches students by having them spend significant time in the kitchen practicing precision techniques.
            • Provide hands-on training from instructors who are certified, master chefs.
            • Offer flexible schedules and online programs.
            • Has 30 schools worldwide, spanning 5 continents, including 17 campuses in the U.S.
            Show more [+]
            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            1 Program(s) Found
            • A private, accredited distance learning college based in Norcross, Georgia founded in 1987.
            • Ensures that service members, their spouses and veterans can maximize their military education benefits.
            • Gives students the option to customize monthly payments to fit their budgets and lifestyle.
            • Offers all-inclusive tuition: textbooks, learning materials, and academic support are covered in the cost.
            • Allows alumni to enroll in any future program at a reduced rate.
            Show more [+]
            • Online Courses