Friday, October 22, 2010

Finding my Externship

Did you ever wonder how I found my externship? Externships for Culinary or Pâtisserie students are typically required by all schools. For the Le Cordon Bleu (LCB) Pâtisserie and Baking Certificate Program, a 6 week externship is required. I set my sights on searching for restaurants or bakeries that would let me do a 12 week externship. Although 6 weeks would satisfy the requirements for my LCB certificate, I felt 12 weeks would look better on a resume and I would learn more. Face it, you only learn so much in the school.

Externships are usually unpaid. Since I was looking to work somewhere for free for 12 weeks, I looked in Atlanta (where I lived) and New Orleans (where I had family to stay with). One of these two cities were the best choice for me to save money.

Next I considered that if I was going to do some on-the-job training, I wanted to learn from a Pastry Chef who was among the best in the industry. So how to find one. Well, can you say Yep, I just started searching. I looked for pastry chefs, bakeries, restaurants, food reviews, contest, etc., in each city. I read everything I could about each Pastry Chef. I looked at the restaurant or bakery websites. I read reviews for deserts on foodie websites. I looked for menus which listed the desserts they made. I narrowed my choices down and selected 6 places to send my first set of resumes and cover letters. Out of the 6 places, I really only had two places that I really wanted. One was in Atlanta and the other was in New Orleans. Out of the 6 places, I received 3 responses within a week, which surprised me. The other 3 places never responded at all. Choice number 3 was a bakery in Atlanta, which is high volume, has a good reputation, but to be honest, I wasn't impressed with the taste of the pastries. So I had to decide between the other two places.

Hmm! Which to choose. The Pastry Chef in Atlanta is nationally known and is very talented. It was probably a 20 mile drive one-way with a lot of traffic. Not my idea of fun, but I would have done it to work with that Pastry Chef. The Pastry Chef in New Orleans had a great reputation and the bakery was very cool. They had great reviews and the pastries were interesting and looked great on the website. The bakery was only 12 miles from where I would live and no traffic. One more thing, New Orleans is a food town, Atlanta is not. There are not very many great food towns in the United States, but New Orleans is one of them. If you have read my bio, then you know I'm partial to New Orleans and I love the food there. So I picked Sucré in New Orleans and planned to do a 12 week externship. I started my externship on August 16th. As it worked out, they hired me full time after my 6 weeks required by LCB. It couldn't have worked out better for me. If you are searching for an externship, I hope my story helps you plan your search.

1 comment:

  1. Do you know which bakeries in new Orleans create croque en Bouche for weddings.?