To get hired, you need experience and to get experience you need to get hired, which is quite the conundrum when pursuing a new career, especially in the hospitality industry. This potential impediment is one of the main reasons why internships and externships continue to be heavily sought after by entry level talent, including even those who have made it to the top.
These 5 industry leaders share memories of their best internships.
"My best internship was working a harvest in Morey-St-Denis in Burgundy. I think it is so important for sommeliers to have hands-on experience with winemaking. It really puts into perspective the products that we work with every night in the dining room."
Chris Baggetta - Sommelier, Wine, Director of Pacific Wine and Spirits
"The best intern/externship experience was my time with Chef Michael Romano at Union Square Cafe, before the restaurant opened. I learned how to be a kind Chef from him."
Floyd Cardoz - Owner of Floyd Cardoz Consultancy, Former Executive Chef and Managing Partner at Bombay Bread Bar
"My best internship was working a summer (in college) on the Mercantile Exchange trading floor. It taught me how to perform under extreme pressure and time constraints. It also taught me that I never wanted to work in Finance again and ultimately forced me to pursue an alternate career path – cooking."
Nick Anderer - Executive Chef and Partner of Anton's
"I have had a few great internships: Food Runner at Daniel, Assistant Captain at Daniel, Captain at Daniel, Assistant General Manager at Daniel, and now General Manager at Daniel. I’ve been here 12 years and still feel like an intern because I am learning from the guest and team every day."
Pierre Siue - Director of Operations at Daniel
"I got lucky and ended up doing it my Internship with Thomas Keller. Not sure how I found him but doing it was super challenging... we went through a hurdle together and that enabled him to be a good teacher. You have to challenge yourself as much as possible - try to shoot for the stars."
Neal Fraser - Executive Chef and Owner at Redbird, Vibiana, and Fritzi