Internship Diary # 27 – Kim Solejon

Name: Kimberly Jane Solejon

Course: DPCA

Branch: Timog

Internship Venue: Hyatt Regency Atlanta, GA

Kim is one of our students that had her internship abroad and she had really good insights that I would like to share because I believe that you can learn from them and that you can get inspired by her.

These excerpts are taken from her internship journal:

“Coming to America alone was far beyond what I expected, truly different from the movies. I’m a million miles away from my family and loved ones – I didn’t know anyone, I didn’t know how to start. All I had in mind was I wanted to work, learn and conquer this battle.”

“As soon as I stepped into the kitchen with my knives, side towels and my young brave heart I knew that this would be the start of my great journey. At work, they didn’t treat interns as babies or sweet little kiddos. They treated me like a regular employee or should I say kitchen warrior.”

“I started working in SWAY RESTAURANT, which is a full service restaurant that operates during breakfast, lunch and dinner. I was first assigned to the cold side of the PM shift. From there I learned how to set up my own station be responsible for my Mis en Place. My co-associates never tried to spoon feed me. They only taught me once and then they expected that I should be a able to understand and execute it all by myself.”

“Somehow cultural diversity was one of the greatest challenges for me but I had to learn to deal with it and adjust. As days passed, I was able to master and own the pantry station. From there, I jumped over the hot side and the chaotic scene. Despite all of that, I was always excited to got to work even though it’s tough, tiring and frustrating at times. I always feel genuine happiness while I was at work.”

“After 4 months, I moved to the morning shift, for the breakfast and lunch service. The workload was more uncompromising and demanding, as we needed to prepare for about 400 covers on a normal day.”

“I worked in Sway for about 7 months. I am very grateful that I started in this outlet because I learned how to be competitive and I was able to push myself to my fullest potential.”

“My next outlet was 22 STORYS, which is one of the most famous bars in Atlanta. This time I became faster, more efficient and tougher. The bar was different from Sway because food was expected to come out of the window in 7 minutes, which was a very quick pace. Speed was not the only important factor, but also you have to stay focused and driven during the service. You always have to be particular with the doneness of the protein, especially when you have 10 burgers in the grill at the same time with different request for temperatures.”

“From time to time, I was asked to help out in Banquets especially whenever they have big functions. We were feeding 2,000 people in our Banquet rooms. The experience was extraordinary!”

“My last stop was POLARIS RESTAURANT. It is known as the rotating restaurant in Georgia. We change our menu every 2 weeks. For me, this was the highlight of my training. My Chef, Chef Rodney Ashley was so generous in imparting his knowledge and skills to me. He even asked me to create new ideas for our menus. Working with one of the top chefs in Atlanta was very overwhelming but I always seized the opportunity to learn from him. I never imagined that while I was still an intern, I’d move up and become a ‘lead cook’. I was the person in charge of everything – from checking stocks, managing the service when my Chef was not around, expediting things to meeting with the managers.”

“To boil down everything that I have gained from this experience, I realized the importance of my school, Global Academy, because I was molded to become a strong and enthusiastic cook, instilling in me the values and skills that I need to survive in the real kitchen environment. I am very thankful to my Chef instructors, Chefs Jun and Rich for believing in me and helping me chase my dreams.”

“As an aspiring Chef, I should always be the best cook in the building at any given time. The longer you spend time in the kitchen, the more you will learn and improve yourself. To become a better cook, we have to organize our time and stations better; this may seem so basic but plays an important factor in service and also in life. You always need to look and think of more efficient and productive ways to create food and improve your craft.”

“..A Chef inspires others. They are the first person to walk in the door in the morning and often, the last to leave. To put it simply, If you want it, you have to work for it!”

“To end this, I want to share with you my daily mantra that I kept telling myself whenever my body refused to cooperate with me. “This is who I am, who I want to be and no one can stop me”. Yes, not even the long hours of duty at work, which is 16 hours most of the time and 12 days straight. A dream doesn’t become a reality through magic. It takes sweat, determination and hard work. I want to be a Chef and I will work hard for it!”

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