Hi, I am Chino Victa, a student of Enderun Colleges taking a certificate course in the Alain Ducasse program in culinary. I had my internship in one of the best restaurants in Napa, California, Auberge du Soleil. Currently they have a rating of 1-Michelin Star, a member of the prestigious global fellowship Relais & Chateaux, and consistently ranks in the top 10 resorts in Americas.
Working in a highly reputable restaurant wasn’t easy, and the first two months were the toughest. In our restaurant we have both quality and details of a Michelin star and the volume of a popular hotel, these characteristics don’t normally go together because it takes time to cook a prefect dish with a lot of elements and details for plating as you serve 300 customers for the day. We, however, were able to pull it off every single time. Proper focus, timing, and team work are all it takes to achieve such. During my third month, I had gained enough confidence to gloat that I became a part of the core team for the operations.
Working abroad is different. I learned a lot of things the hard way, and I am about to share tips of utmost importance when one is abroad.
The first is to have a good sense independence. Bills, laundry, dinner, house chores are all part of my daily routine. Things which I was not too mindful of when I was home, suddenly required necessary attention.
Next, be sociable. Interacting with your colleagues keeps you in a good spot inside the kitchen. In the U.S., people love to talk during their free time. This is a good way to take some load off and unwind. There were times when I drank with my co-workers and even invited them to our jacuzzi area to unwind.
Keep in touch with your family regularly. This helps you to be motivated. Plus, you will always be reminded of how supportive they are of everything you do.
Always persevere. You really have to push your self everyday. Never give up, because there will always be ups and down.
Never stop learning. Encourage your self to learn everyday. Remember that the reason why you are doing the internship/training is for you to improve your craft.
Don’t forget to reward your self. Go to the city, eat a 22-ounce steak, host/attend a party, go shopping, anything that you consider rewarding. This will help ease the tension and work pressure you may feel from time to time. Sometimes we need to pamper ourselves and have some “me-time”.
I must admit this is one of the best times of my life. I learned a lot of things about my profession as well as my self. To see a different side of the world is always positive. To work and enjoy at the same time is a gift, and to be given an opportunity to work in a multi-awarded resort in Napa is such a blessing.
I would like to say thank you to my family, it was really hard to live outside their borders. To my friends and loved ones, thank you for keeping in touch with me. Thank you, God, for giving me strength each and every single day. Thank you, Enderun colleges, and our chefs for the training and discipline. Of course, big thanks to Inter-Ed for this opportunity. What I learned from my internship will never be taken away from me. Thank you for making this possible.
Take a look at some of Chino’s photos.