Expect your first job to be one of your most memorable experiences including all of the “firsts” that come along with it. Even today’s industry leaders had to start somewhere - just like you - in order to build a foundation for a successful career. From their early experiences came valuable lessons that have impacted them throughout their careers. The importance of work relationships, flexibility and having high standards are just a few of the many key takeaways that have shaped who they are today.

“I started working at a young age. My first job was washing dishes and I was really good at it because I was very meticulous. In that kitchen was the first time I saw fresh herbs and foraged mushrooms, it was at that moment when I knew this was the industry I belonged in, and I’ve never looked back.”

Alex Seidel, Executive Chef, Proprietor and Farmer of Mercantile Dining & Provision, Fruition Restaurant and Fruition Farms Dairy & Creamery

“My first job taught me two amazing things: 1. That moving from an hourly position to management is incredibly difficult. 2. As an ambitious young person, you need to be twice as hardworking, serious and disciplined as the people who surround you, who inevitably trump you in experience.”

Alex Wolf, Director of Restaurants of Restaurants by Jean-Georges

“I had a thousand first jobs. Some lasted a week, some lasted three months. I’ve learned that you need to love your work in order to be happy in life. I love making people happy.”

Donald Madia, Owner and Partner of the One Off Hospitality Group

“I learned from my first job to be clean. Taste every dish. The pathway to becoming a chef is line cooking at a consistent level every day. It is by working hard at the job you’re given that leads to promotion and success. Asking for promotions and success is not the way to get promotion and success.”

Erling Wu-Bower, Chef de Cuisine at Nico Osteria

“The most important thing I learned in my first job is that nothing is too menial to be done by you.”

Floyd Cardoz, Executive Chef and Partner at Paowalla

“From my first job I learned to never compromise or waiver when it comes to your standards.”

Jason Franey, Executive Chef Executive Chef at 1833

“The most important thing I learned on my first job was that hard work builds a backbone and teaches you the fundamentals.”

Kevin Doherty, Executive Chef for Delaware North Companies Sportservice at TD Garden in Boston