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Breaking into the industry

Hello everyone, 

First post in the forums here.  I’m a chef of nearly ten years who has worked everything from fast casual to fine dining.  I recently decided after spending a summer working with two certified sommeliers that I wanted to move in the direction of working with wine.  

To that end I’ve got my introductory sommelier test in March and will continue studying towards my certified.  

My question is what is the best way to break into the industry?  I have lots of restaurant experience but it’s all back of house.  Do I look for a FOH serving job and practice that way or do I look for a wine specific position?  

Thanks for your time!  

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  • Best of luck on your transition!  I made the transition from BOH to FOH over ten years ago and I can honestly say that it is a different set of skills working on the floor, a different muscle memory that you need to acquire.  My two cents would be to work at the best place that will take you in a FOH position (even as a busser or backwaiter) and work up.  You need to be able not to just intellectually understand the steps of service, but have them so deeply ingrained that you can do them without thinking about it.  As a sommelier, I find myself switching between being expo, food runner, bartender, host, busser, waiter, manager, and somm constantly on any given night.

    It would be like a very experienced captain walking into a kitchen and asking if they could be a saucier.  Nope, you're going to be a garcon de cuisine and work your way up.  Now mind you, you'll probably move up faster than others without that experience, but still you have to absorb the basics first.

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