If you have a bit of a thing for cooking shows, you may already have some preconceptions about Michelin-starred restaurants. But outside the finely polished imagery seen by the outside world, there is a lot of happening behind the scene. You should keep in mind that this is not a negative review of the system, rather, it is a balanced exposition on the inner happenings of the industry.
To the untrained eye, Michelin-starred kitchens are no big deal at all, and the scrutiny involved in their services is unnecessary. They think top kitchens are overrated restaurants with a lot to spend on flashy decors, but they are wrong. While it is true that some street foods can sometimes have a great taste like what these top places offer, they do not come close when it comes to delivering on a professional level.
Working in these places would no doubt be a dream come true for any young chef. It does not matter if the restaurant carries a one-star rating or seven, the basic expectations remain on a terrific level. The emphasis on values and discipline is huge, punctuality is also not debatable. All workers, regardless of the post, must show hospitality at the highest level. Hospitality is crucial to serving anyone spending to eat good food. It is also necessary because some of these people are celebrities and professional tasters whose reviews can go a long way.
The degree of coordination, consistency, and plating is impossible for humble local restaurants to replicate, not to mention perfect. From cooking steaks at specific temperatures to getting called out for cutting veggies at one millimetre more or less. Everything is rigorous to make sure you keep the standard and discipline high. If you will be cooking, but you are used to the “Agar—Agar” style, you should prepare for a tough challenge. Every dish must be deliberately prepared, so you get the intended result with flavors balanced to colors and textures without compromise.
These top restaurants demand a lot, and the margin for faults is almost non-existent. All kitchen staff must be available by 8 AM, including temporary staff. Work usually lasts the whole day, and workers get to leave by midnight for five days a week. Your 6th day of the week may be different and not necessarily take your whole day: service may start at midday, then last until midnight. Service can be hectic with little to no resting time on duty. The 7th day of the week is free, so you will have about 85 hours of work.
Waiters or waitresses must have the ability to listen to customers’ requests, and express outstanding knowledge of the menu items, as well as drinks. It is necessary to go about your work without disrupting the flow of service in the kitchen. The waiter must pay attention to the customer’s complaint about food or their experience in the kitchen.
Michelin—starred restaurants must be absolutely tidy at all times, so working as a cleaner will mean letting nothing go past you. The standard is high, so cleanliness is crucial for everything; equipment, floor, cooking wares, etc. Your actions should look coordinated and absolutely slick.
You may not have all the knowledge you need to work in these kitchens, however, what is important is to be smart enough to take opportunities to always convince the authorities. Have a positive attitude to learning new things, follow instructions diligently, and understand that there is a lot of pressure in the environment. There is a lot at stake, which means you will get yelled at even when it is only a little fault or someone else’s fault entirely. More experienced people are always around to learn from when you stay humble. Stay confident, do not get intimidated by the high requirements of the environment, so things can work out smoothly.
It takes discipline, attentiveness, and consistency to work in a restaurant with Michelin stars. Despite the rigorous operation, anyone who manages to stay reasonable in the heat of things will definitely have valuable experience from working there. Experience that will go beyond having improved cooking skills. Workers learn better organizational skills, how to work under immense pressure, and get rare access to industry experts as mentors.