Internship Diary #22 – Dominic B. Toribio

Name: Dominic B. Toribio

Course: Grand Diploma Batch 13

Branch: Makati

Internship Venue: Hotel Villa Retiro, SPAIN

I believe that Dominic can inspire a lot of people who are serious about pursuing a career in a professional kitchen. He took his internship in a Michelin-starred restaurant in Spain for a year and he came home as a different person from everything he learned and experienced there. Other people can break under intense pressure while some will thrive. Dom was the latter as he is now more excited to take on more challenges after his trip to Spain.

Please take the time out to read excerpts from his journal:

“The road to higher education is paved with challenges – that was my guiding mantra when I decided to boldly take a one year internship in a Michelin-Starred restaurant in Spain. The first month of my stay there was my rite of passage to many different things with the highlight on kitchen work. It was tough having to learn the language, culture, kitchen routine and practices, and keeping up with the speed, perfectionist quality of products, all under the wearing down effect of working really long hours under the watchful eye of my supervisor. It was GRUELLING. But I knew exactly what I signed up for. Later on, I found working in a cut-throat, blood-shed type of kitchen a very rewarding thing.

Reward comes in many forms. One of the more obvious rewards is skill development. In my first week, I got to cut all sorts of vegetables and in bulk quantity. I literally owe it to this internship that I now can confidently julienne hundreds of kilos of onions in a fast and efficient way….

…My favourite part of all was when I started to be part of the restaurant service. I was working the starters section of the restaurant and the thought of plating these beautiful starters by myself and serving it directly to the customers gave me a rush of blood to the head. Soon, I got to run the aperitifs kitchen by myself doing all the mise en place and the service too. It was an amazing opportunity!

Above all these, I gained valuable insights on two very important things: ORGANIZATION and ATTITUDE. Time management is key to organization! A chef who got all the basic techniques nailed does everything at warp speed, sends the product to the customer on time but has crappy quality is a bad chef. A chef who knows his basics, takes his time making the dish look and taste perfect but sends the food to the customer 15mins late is still a bad chef. Everything should be put to balance, paced, guided and executed with the right amount of confidence. Attitude is an even more critical part. In a busy kitchen, I realized that sometimes the chaos will test your personality. Different people will react differently to stress and can really get in the way of your work. Over time, I learned how to adjust by pacing myself, concentrating on the work I do and never let emotions affect me. The cultural differences made it even more challenging, but in the end I turned into a tough cookie.

It was an incredible one year. One hell of a roller coaster ride that i’d love to do over and over again. I am now on another quest for new challenges. My plan is to further my career after graduation, find a job in another cut-throat kitchen with a rewarding atmosphere. I am confident now that I can make it wherever I want to be thanks to the training of Global Academy and my internship.”

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