Let's cut right to it! I’m currently aboard a French bullet train headed down south to Avignon, where I’ll spend the summer as a cook in a restaurant. I’m doing a stage, which is essentially an apprenticeship for cooking. I’m giving the chef free labor and in exchange he’s letting me live above the restaurant and is passing on his culinary knowledge to me. That's what is called a "stage", in the cooking world. I work for free and in return I get to live above the restaurant and…well I get to work in a French restaurant! It's an incredible opportunity to expand my culinary skills. (Oh and for those wondering, I’m funding it, not Barstool or my my parents).
I’m not sure what the living quarters will be like but I’ll take whatever I can get considering I still have rent to pay in Chicago. Essentially I’m working remotely from France until the new office is built. My plan is to post daily videos of my progression working in the kitchen. In my opinion that's a hell of a lot more interesting than making cooking videos alone in my apartment while I wait for the new office to be finished in September so I sprung to take this opportunity while everything else is in flux.
When the new office is finished there will finally be a studio kitchen. I plan on completely revamping the cooking content and expanding it 10-fold. In order for me to do that I need to go back to school, so to speak. I’m a good cook but in the back of my head I’ve always wondered how much better I could be if I spent significant time working in a restaurant under a master chef, and that's exactly what I am going to find out this summer.
So what will I be doing? I’m going to be working in the restaurant 6 days a week, and on my day off/mornings I will be editing all the footage I get from in the kitchen. One of the main reasons I decided to do this in France vs in Chicago is because there are way too many distractions in Chicago that would pull me away from it. It’s way more enticing to go drink on a boat on Lake Michigan than slave away in a hot kitchen for 12 hrs without pay. Anyone who has worked in a kitchen knows how hard it is, so by isolating myself in a small French village I’ll have no choice but to focus on cooking. Not to mention getting classical French training will do wonders for me. I also happen to be fluent in French and have never really been able to use it outside of school. So for the few people in the comments who said this is a "boondoggle", it's far from that.
The place I'll be working isn't your typical restaurant, it's a small pop-up open only for the summer. It's just the chef and his sous chef doing the jobs of an entire kitchen, so you can imagine how thrilled he was when I offered to help out free of charge. This also means I’m going to be thrown into the fire. Most things I’ll be doing will be brand new to me. I'm gonna fuck up, a lot, but by the end of the summer I’ll come back a completely new cook and be ready to take the cooking content at Barstool to the next level. I'm going to use the blog as a journal of sorts and keep everyone who cares updated on the trials and tribulations of my time as a cook in France.
PS. Nothing I do in France will ever top how much fun it was to film this video.