Student Stories

A Culinary Journey: Milen Dimov and his internship at Hilton Austin

Delve into Milen's remarkable experiences, from a novice in the Banquets department to a skilled chef at Cannon and Belle


In the heart of Texas, amidst the vibrant city of Austin, a young culinary enthusiast embarked on a transformative journey that transcended cultural boundaries. Milen Dimov, a dedicated Culinary Arts student from HRC Academy, chose Hilton Austin for his last internship, immersing himself in the bustling world of one of the oldest hotel chains globally.

The Hilton Austin, a prominent member of the illustrious Hilton Group, stands tall in downtown Austin, offering more than 800 rooms and over 100,000 sq. ft of event space. Strategically located near iconic landmarks such as the Capitol building and 6th Street, the hotel is a hub for both business and leisure travellers. Milen’s decision to intern at Hilton Austin was fueled by a desire to experience the quintessential American way of life in the heart of Texas, renowned for cowboys, barbecues, guns, and pickup trucks.

Milen’s journey at Hilton Austin commenced in the Banquets department, where he undertook simple tasks like cutting and prepping vegetables, meats, and poultry. However, his pivotal moment came when faced the challenge of shucking 300 oysters, showcasing his expertise and earning the trust of his peers. As he progressed, the young chef took on more significant responsibilities, gradually gaining autonomy and recognition for his culinary skills at the Cannon and Belle restaurant.

Milen’s experience in the US exposed him to cultural shocks, notably the sheer size of everything – cars, portions, and even sidewalks. The contrast of opulence and homelessness in cities like New York and Austin left a lasting impression. Despite facing challenges, Milen’s focus on the culinary aspects remained unwavering. He adapted to the American culinary landscape, understanding the differences in regulations and portion sizes, inevitably leading to a surprising weight gain :)))

Milen’s life as an American citizen extended beyond the kitchen, offering a dynamic experience in the vibrant city of Austin. He marvelled at the friendly locals, the wonderful weather, and the diverse cultural landscape. Navigating the intricacies of finding suitable accommodation on a budget, Milen discovered the charm of Riverside, situated next to a park with a lake, providing a perfect balance between nature and city life.

Milen’s internship at Hilton Austin was not just a culinary journey but a cultural odyssey. From the intricacies of the kitchen to the nuances of American life, Milen’s experiences shaped him into a versatile chef with a global perspective. His story serves as an inspiration for aspiring chefs, emphasizing the importance of embracing diverse cultures and cuisines to foster personal and professional growth.

“To me, this internship was the perfect way to step outside into the world and experience the magic and uniqueness of different cultures and cuisines. Another advantage was the opportunity to create networks and connections, which may be essential in the future. Open your heart to everything new and embrace it, that is the way to improve yourself as a chef”

Milen Dimov, Culinary Arts Graduate, 2024

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