Speaking the Language

© Sachyn Ghodke

© Sachyn Ghodke

I had a Korean culinary student who was worried. Graduation time from a professional cooking school was fast approaching and he didn’t have a single job prospect. He was a brilliant cook but he could barely speak English.

I suggested that he look for work at the Korean Embassy in Washington, D.C. There they spoke the same language, and he was uniquely capable of preparing the familiar food they loved to eat. It was a match made in heaven.

There are plenty of food job opportunities even when English isn’t your first language. The same student could have looked beyond the embassies, and located consulates in many cities in the U.S. and around the world which would enjoy his cooking. I’ll stick to Korean for this example, and mention that Korean Air employs chefs for their airline hospitality suites. And if you check the Korean Chamber of Commerce online, you’ll find in the U.S. alone that are more than 300 Korean businesses, many of which would surely welcome a Korean catering service.

Surely, if you speak a different language and would prefer to live in France or China or Japan or South America, you will find similar professional openings for those who speak your language.

On the other hand, it isn’t necessary to be Italian to make pizza. You don’t have to be Jewish to work in a deli nor do you have to be a native born citizen of Japan to make sushi. I know an American chef who studied Russian in college and ran a hugely successful catering business in Moscow for several years.

If you want to travel the world, all you need is some culinary knowledge, a set of sharp knives, a cheerful smile, be reliable and arrive on time. Your talents will be recognized and rewarded.

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