1965 (and by the way that was carroll shelby's finest car)
a sous chef reports to the executive chef. what makes the sous chef so great?? and lord never ask that in front of a sous chef
is his duties. you see an exec chef is just that, paperwork, pr, future planning that kind of thing. a sous however runs the kitchen and if you are ever fortunate enough like i was to work under a classicaly trained german chef you will soon find out two things. as far as that exec is concerned you are the only one responsible for his standards and the line cooks will find out you are god (and the only to make that stick is by being smater at problem solving then they are). to be a successful sous you must have the cunning of a thief combined with the heart of a pirate captain (as a matter of fact before i started my own business i refered to my best line cooks as my pirates) now this is where it gets fun for you as a gm (hereafter refered to as a tie). how many tricks do you know? do you make 2 enemies take the garbage out together? by the way that is no joke let 2 friends take it out and you just opened yourself up for your inventory disappearing out the back door. do you check the salt and sugar every morning by taste? might wanna do that as a good trick is to put sugar in the salt and salt in the sugar. the list could go on and on but the point is you need some real time in the real world of kitchens otherwise as a tie you are going to get the wool pulled over your eyes and bad!!!!
my best advice at this point is to read anthony bourdains "kitchen confidental" after you do that set your menu. i see you want to go to italy. while there see if you can work your way into a kitchen as free labor. you will be low man on the totem pole but it will give you an idea of what is involved and more importantly the equipment that you will need. most chefs worth their salt will give a guy a chance if he seems sincere and working for nothing is real sincere.
hope it helps some
ps. saw the part about stealing recipes. makes me think you just might have what it takes. ok here is your 1st tip and it was giving to me by my exec walter achatz years ago. steal with your eyes. while most chefs won't share the recipe if you watch long enough and carefully enough you will have it. just never let them see you doing it