Getting an internship in a Michelin star restaurant, as a foreign student may sound a bit like a far fetched dream. For Matilda however, a Swedish student who took part in the ADC College Internship programme, the dream came true. She received a place at the famous Club Gascon in London where she got to spend 3 weeks with the professional kitchen staff. Matilda who speaks 3 languages at mother tongue level showcased great talent and a highly professional work ethic and she has some interesting experiences to share with us:
Your mother tongue impressively consists of 3 languages: Swedish, Finnish and Estonian. Aside from that you are also fluent in English. Can you tell us what it's like to grow up learning so many languages at once?
When growing up I did not think about it too much because it was normal for me speaking two languages at home and then another one in school and with my friends. Now being older I have realised how rewarding it is to be able to speak with people in their mother tongue. I also think it makes it possible to take part in other cultures in a more profound way when not having the need to translate. I am very thankful towards my parents who taught me their mother tongues and by doing so gave me a wider range of possibilities to communicate with people.
What sparked your interest in the hospitality industry?
I have always enjoyed cooking and being able to create something that can be shared with others. So when I had to decide what to study in grammar school, the restaurant programme really caught my interest because then I would be able to learn how to do just that in a professional way. The hospitality industry, in general, is very exciting because you can work anywhere in the world, meet interesting people and be creative in your work. What makes me love the restaurant industry in specific is the fact that everybody all over the world loves food and good food makes people happy, so to be able to do what I am really passionate about while at the same time making other people happy is very inspiring.
How did you feel when you found out that you would be working in the prestigious Michelin Star Restaurant "Club Gascon" during your Internship in London?
I was really surprised and excited about being able to work in such a high-level and renowned restaurant. The level of cooking at Club Gascon is what I aspire to do in the future, so being there was a fantastic opportunity to learn and get an insight into the work behind the type of cooking I someday want to do myself.
What were your tasks?
Everyday I helped the chefs finishing their mise en place lists, which is the to-do-list of chefs, so that meant I did preparations for the lunch service and then during service, I helped with plating. Afterwards, I helped with cleaning and preparing for the dinner service.
What have you found most exciting about working and living in a new country?
It has been very interesting just seeing what day-to-day life looks like in another country. All the small things that differ from what I am used to for example how to turn the doorknob and looking left while crossing the street have been very interesting to adapt to. Staying with a host family has made understanding the differences much easier and it felt good knowing I had someone to ask who was happy to help. But then, of course, it has been exciting having to learn to manage on my own in a much bigger city than I am used to.
How would you compare your work placement to your work or school back home?
The biggest difference is the fact that I had to speak English in every situation which really improved my speaking and knowledge of cooking terms in English.
What have you learnt from the trip?
I have learned how to manage by myself in different situations, to be more independent and a lot of new words that I will be able to use again when working in an English speaking kitchen someday!
How has this experience inspired you?
It has really inspired me to travel more. During my stay in London I noticed how much there is to see and do, so much it would be enough for a lifetime! That realization made my three-week stay seem so short. But at the same time, in only three weeks I have learned so much, met so many new people and learned much about myself which I would have never done during the same amount of time back at home. This experience has proved I can combine travelling and seeing new places with working and improving myself as a chef!
What are your plans for the future?
My plan is to graduate from culinary school this summer and after that work as a chef in Stockholm for a while to gain more experience before going to work abroad. Someday maybe even come back to London, since I really enjoyed my time there and because the restaurant industry is flourishing with the abundance of restaurants in the city! But first and foremost I want to travel, see new things and learn as much as possible in my profession as well as just explore the world.
What would your advice be for students who are about to go on the Internship Programme?
To have an open mind and just enjoy the experience as long as it lasts! This internship programme is a fantastic opportunity to learn more about different cultures, your profession and most importantly new things about yourself that will make you more independent and grown-up!
Matilda visited London with our Internship Programme, a project eligible for EU funding. We also arrange projects in Dublin. Don't hesitate to contact us if you would like more information about what we do and how to get funding. Call a Country Manager today on +44 2084249424 or send us a message.