When I started my career as a chef as you can see from my profile (click here), I took a different route than most. I joined the military and learned my trade there, not from a college or a culinary school.
Although I went a different path than most, either way, I was a bright-eyed 16-year-old ready to learn. I suppose the best advice I can give someone who is just starting their career as a chef, whichever route you go down, is that the principles are the same. Mainly you need to be prepared to graft and graft hard. Wherever you start out, be prepared to work long hours and doing menial jobs.
1. Always put in 100%
The more effort you put in, the more you will get out of it. If your chef sees you putting the effort in and just getting on with things, then they're more than likely going to take more of an interest in training you. Also, learn from everyone you can - watch what is going on all around you and try and take in everything you can.
2. Do your research
Never be afraid to ask questions either. There is so much going on in kitchens these days that the best way you're going to learn of your chefs is to ask. Use what you have at your disposal as well, read a cookbook, watch programs, and social media is a great tool to find out what is popular in the world today.
3. Remember the rewards
As a chef, to be successful, you will have to put your blood, sweat and tears into your work. Despite it being hard work, just remember how rewarding it can be, it's a great feeling when you create a fantastic dish, complete a difficult service or see the happy faces of the people you've just fed.
4. Never let your standards slip
Lastly, one of the most important things I got taught when becoming a chef is you're only as good as your last meal. What I mean by this is if you've had a good day don't let your standards slip for the next day, or if you do have a bad day in the kitchen remember you can always dust your apron down and bring it back the next day.