The difference between staging in Canada as opposed to France, the expectation in Canada that cooks stage for free in order to prove their skills to obtain employment rather than staging to learn as is the case in France where cooks are given a place to stay and meals.
In France it is normal for young aspiring cooks to stage in Star Michelin restaurants. The benefits to these cooks are experience, learning new techniques and classical preparations that they wouldn’t have otherwise been exposed to and the restaurants pay for your daily meals and give you a place to stay for free. In Canada, most of the restaurants want you to stage for a different reason. They want to see if you are the right fit for their restaurant, they will not pay you, and some of them are so cocky that they will make you stage for upwards of eight hours or even more. Some places even have the nerve to ask people to stage for more than one day. Remember, they don’t pay you, which is actually illegal. There is no other industry that would ask a person to go and work for them for free to assess their skills. In Canada if you ask someone to do a stage for you, you basically have to pay them at least minimum wage. They are abusing cooks in the sense that they don’t teach the stagier anything while they are there and a lot of restaurants use them as an opportunity to have free labour for the day, typically doing all of the undesirable jobs that no one else wants to do. Not cool.
The level of cooking in Canada in general is not as high as it is in Europe, so don’t be a fool to stage for some one who thinks they are a super star when they have never been a chef in a Star Michelin restaurant. In contrast, most of the French cooks who come to Canada from France, come to Toronto thinking that they know everything because they are from France. At the end of the day in most cases, they are in Toronto because they couldn’t make it as a cook in France and if you ask them where they worked in France they probably will not be able to give you a good answer as very few cooks ever worked in Star Michelin restaurants or anywhere decent. They are under the impression though that they can come over here with their arrogance and that the Anglo-Saxon world will automatically think they must be good cooks because they are from France.