Posts tagged ‘hospitality’

November 7, 2010

I now introduce You to th cruise ship advantures!

If you work in travel and hospitality meaning anything between hotel manager and  dishwasher, the “cruise ship” talk must have come up from time to time. It always sound so wonderful, just like invitation to the military “lifetime opportunity, great pay, management position, travel the world etc” slogans, which already sounds too good to be true. Well they are.

In hospitality, we all know this is hard work, long work, and a different lifestyle. But on the other hand hospitality work is hard and long and it is a different lifestyle! Also a lifestyle where is relatively easy to find a job, but its hard to find a good paying one, one with good reputation, or one where you not going to be surrounded with complete assholes, or to be used and abused at. Or just being layd off from 1 minute to the other.  If you tried almost everything, or had a bad experience, or just completely ran out of money, and have no idea how to get out of the debts, or just simply want to try something different you do start thinking about the cruise ships.

What do you need for the ship?  Education is important, for some positions, lets say kitchen and front desk etc, where you studied and how many experience you have is pretty important. Languages. English and German is minimum, but the more the merrier! Again work experience is good, but lets say in housekeeping is not so important, you don’t have to spend years in the industry, but if you don’t have experience at all, it will be hard to get in! Be open-minded and friendly, you will be working with many different people, maybe from all over the World, you’ll learn tolerance is good! As I told you it is hard work, so be ready for working hard, without complaining!

Yes it is true, it is good money! And we are talking about very good money, also no expenses, as there’s no rent or bills on the ship. You get crew meals, some drinks, aaaaaaaaaand I guess that’s it. Be ready for working 7 days a week, 15 hours/day, no days off, maybe a holiday for 10 days or so in every 3 months.  Be ready for sharing a cabin with someone who has completely different habits then you do, and be ready to live and work with people you don’t necessarily like. Be ready for not being in daily contact with your loved ones, as there barely internet connection, or phone reception.

It does sound a bit depressing isn`t it?  But when you are there it is not so bad after all. You find that the people on board most likely are well-trained professionals, who chose this lifestyle almost after college. They are nice and friendly, even if you are not a fan of everybody you’ll get along and will be able to find friends. The ship stops almost everyday, so most likely you going to be able to go out for a walk, or shopping, or massage or whatever you like, you can travel around on the company’s expenses, visiting places, that maybe you would never do, on your own free will. You can save up money, as you don’t have expenses, only the stuff, food, drink, sweets, clothes whatever you buy for yourself. But let me tell you, shopping sometimes is very tempting, pretty much as one for of entertainment after the time spent on board.

So what can you do on board? It also depends on the ship you are on. The difference between the river and the ocean cruises, is that the ocean cruise sucks your soul, and you’ll turn into a zombie pretty soon, so they have a bit more entertainment..lets say gym, or free internet. River cruises, are even lighter on the choices, after work you can either chill in your cabin, read, or watch a film. Or you can go to the crew room, hang out with the people you see everyday, and join or look at the alcoholics, doing they daily routine, emptying the vending machine, and sculling beer all night.  So there`s no other way to put it there IS drinking, there is heavy drinking, and you need to watch out cos you can easily be a part of it!

Well this is my general “know how” handbook about cruise ship work. I’ll b back with more posts, explaining the work and the lifestyle a bit deeper. If you are planning, to get on board, it will be interesting to read, as the same rules apply, wherever you are!

 

Thank you for stopping by!

 

 

 

August 17, 2010

Cooking schools- Great fun or Great rip-offs?

In the last 5 or so years cooking and chefs are everywhere! On the cover of magazines, movies, television shows, and Disney cartoons. In the World of ready made supermarket foods, organic markets and gastro shows are rapidly growing like mushrooms. Now everybody wants to cook and have a bite of the industry. New cooking schools are opening up for the ones who are interested, or want to go for a date, or just for the ones who want to impress their guests or want to learn a healthy living. To be honest there’s nothing wrong with that. The wrong part comes when one`s think that they can put together a decent lasagna at home, or like to host dinner parties instantly think they can make it in this business.

On TV and in the magazines it all looks so easy. A well organised chef in a well organised kitchen, cooks a fantastic looking meal within 30 minutes. The restaurant around the corner is packed every night “They sure do an amazing turnover, sure they don’t have money problems”. They don`t realise that the restaurant 2 blocks away closing down and opening again in every 6 months just because people who run it, don’t actually know what they are doing. If you are just about to go to culinary college, and you doing this because of the money, you better turn around and do something else. Yes you can earn, with hard work, and hard work,and hard work, you can also make it big with more hard work and a bit of luck.

Why am I writing this?

I been looking at some local cooking schools. The ones you can attend once a week or a month if you want to. You don’t need to be a chef, can learn some basic cooking ideas, and can spice up your life with some gastro knowledge and some healthy and interesting food. To be honest there are some really great ones Worldwide, not to mention some big city residents are just spoiled with choices. Pastry, japanese, cocktail, italian, butchery you name it. These are made for fun. You not going to be a kick ass chef, but hopefully you not going to burn your water. I`m actually a big fan of these schools, people can actually learn some stuff from basic cuts to complicated dishes. More about fresh produce, and how not to poison themselves with Chez Microwave best offs. Soon I will be working at one of these places in Budapest for a few months and Im very excited, especially about the working with people part. How non chefs see the kitchen and the cooking. It will be interesting.

But I came across some ads saying: “Open your dream restaurant” “Become a celebrity chef in no time” “Cook with the best”  “Learn everything you wanted to know about wines and food”- all these in 2 hours/week for 2 moths.  Before you sign up for any of these and pay at least of the amount of 500 pounds or more ask yourself the question: “Really?”  So really all you have to do is, attend this class and you going to know all about restaurants? cooking?wine? pastry?photography? design? accounting? menu planning? ingredients? So all the people who made it big just attended these classes for about 100 hours? There are really so many idiots in colleges and universities who don’t know about these offers?  No! Well, if you really have so much money to waste and a bit of free time  go for it! You might have fun with the other rich restaurant wannabe virgins. I’m sure it`s going to be fun to visit the cities nice restaurants and bakeries, which, to be honest you may have already done, or can de without parental guidance. It will be nice to cook for 2 nights with the second class celebrity chef who gives his/her name to anything just to get the 15 minutes again. To be honest for this amount of money they would even go to your house and get naked for you if you would ask them. But if you really want a chance in hospitality, You will have to know..its hard work, people are going to screw you as much as they can, you most likely end up living in a kitchen or behind the bar.

I saw people screwing up their lifetime savings, just because they had no idea what they get into. Cafes, restaurants closing down, because the owner thought sweet talking to the costumers is the way to go, and not buying ingredients and equipment for their chefs and kitchen. I saw guys running out crying from a busy kitchen. I’m sure all of these because..they didn`t attend those classes.

You should read Anthony Bourdains “Kitchen Confidential”, buy the “Larousse Gastronomique”  eat out, learn, read cookbooks…COOK AT HOME!  After all this you might get a general idea. Attend a good culinary college for at least 2 years. And if You still think this is for you, well man, Welcome Aboard!