I've read Anthony Bourdain's book Kitchen Confidential, so I've read all sorts of bizarre horror stories about the behind-the-scenes world of restaurants. I have friends who have worked in the industry, but mostly as servers and bartenders. I cook all the time at home, for myself, but I know the experience isn't even comparable. And I've never attended culinary school.
So now, I seek stories and advice from people who have worked as cooks in restaurant kitchens. I'm sure it's hot back there, the work is fast and intense and high-stress, and the hours often suck. I've never had a job even remotely like that. But I'm curious about what it would be like to work at, say, a neighborhood Italian restaurant, or a big chain like Cheesecake Factory, or a somewhat more upscale place. Most importantly, do you have a chance in hell of getting hired as a cook (even a prep or line cook) with no professional experience in the restaurant business?