Turning Tables
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Chapter 4: My new life as a trainee

Vocational school

Finally my apprenticeship started. To get the permission was a long, extensive and tiring journey. Several times I had been at the edge of despair, close to losing all hope.

More than anything I am happy that Feinkost Käfer stood so patiently and optimistically behind me. And holding out paid out.

So far, I have only had a few weeks of vocational school. Some classes I really like, others are quite complicated. Social studies for example makes me feel like I don’t understand anything. Our current topic is labour law. In general, I like it that so many things are fixed and regulated in Germany, and I understand that it is important to know how these things work. But why do Germans love it so much to use all these incredibly long words – that I cannot really understand.

Words like „Manteltarifvertragsregelung“ or „Datenschutzgrundverordnung“ make the letters dance in front of my eyes and my head feel, as if there were thousands of bees rumbling inside of it.

The German classes during Step-IN prepared me well, but the language is still very complicated.

Maths I like way better. Or vocational theory, where we learn how to set a table properly, which cutlery to use for which meal or what the differences between French and American service are. Most of this we have already learned during the Step-IN program too. To know more than my fellow students and to not be sitting in class with a big question mark on my face for a change, feels good and motivates me to keep going.

All in all, I think it’s amazing to be going back to school again. There is only one thing I dislike.
My class room is on the fifth floor and only the teachers possess the key to the elevator. Every time when I finally climb all the stairs, I am already quite exhausted – without even the class having started!

Apprenticeship

My work permit came just in time for me to join my colleagues from Feinkost Käfer on a trip to Oktoberfest, on my second day of work.
Feinkost Käfer operates a tent there, where I will be working next year as well. Everything there was very nice and fancy. Even the music was nice, although I couldn’t really understand what they were singing.

I ate chicken with potato salad, wore Lederhosen (Bavarian traditional outfit) and felt pretty German.

But this wasn’t the only trip that I will be doing during my time with Feinkost Käfer, there are many more things planned for us trainees: In January, we will go to Berlin to visit our colleagues and in my second year, I will see Paris for a few days! I’m already really excited.

All my colleagues are really nice. They are always happy to help me out and explain things to me. Even twice, or five times. Actually, as often as I need to fully understand. That’s good because I want to do everything right.
So far, I have been working at the bar and in service, which I really enjoy. I take guests’ orders, digitally submit them to the kitchen and serve the desired meals and drinks. In the beginning, it was hard to remember all the different meals we offer. But by now, I know our menu quite well and am able to react quickly. However, I am really happy that we have English classes at vocational school, because there are many international guests at Feinkost Käfer, who I sometimes have trouble understanding.

Here I was practicing my restaurant specialist skills: At the summer festival at Bayernkaserne

One time, a small mishap happened at work. In the exact moment that I put a glass of beer in front of a guest, he got up and bumped into me. The glass fell over and broke. Everything that was inside, spilled all over the table, the floor and the guest. I felt incredibly embarrassed and really sorry. The guest however stayed calm and polite, just like my supervisor. She just said: “Don’t worry Rustam, these things can happen. And as we all know: Shards bring luck“
I can be really grateful to work in such a great, supportive environment.

As a restaurant specialist you’re basically the intermediary between guest and kitchen, while you represent the restaurant to the guest.
During the apprenticeship there are different fields of work that you are going to learn, all in all five. Into the first three I already got an insight during my first weeks of work.
First of all, you can advise your guest with their choice of meals and drinks. Therefore, you have to know all the different things that your restaurant offers. You should know the ingredients, as some people forego certain things due to health-, ethnical-, or religious-related reasons. A good restaurant specialist takes this into consideration and advises the guest accordingly.

Secondly, you will learn how to serve a guest properly. For example, it is important to serve plates and clear up tables from the correct side. Moreover, you will learn certain methods just as flambéing, carving or filleting. And of course, you are going to learn how you manage to balance a full tray through a full restaurant without causing any harm.

Setting up tables or banquets is another important task for a restaurant specialist. Folding napkins and polishing glasses are part of it, too.
A restaurant specialist also knows how to organise banquets and events. As there are always many guests in our restaurant, I am quite excited to learn more about this.
And then there are, of course, bill settlements. Here it will show, whether all the math preparation I received during Step-IN and the many hours of math classes in vocational school, worked out or not.

I have just started my apprenticeship and I am sure that many more experiences will await me in the near future.

Nevertheless, I am very optimistic, because I am positive that I have found a job and an organisation that fit with me and are just what I was looking for in my apprenticeship.
In a few weeks, you will hear from me again, as I will keep you updated about my new life as a trainee!

Till then,
Rustam

I can’t wait to tell you more about my apprenticeship soon – till then!

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