Over the past nine months students from our Culinary Apprenticeship program have been working hands-on in the kitchens of accomplished professional chefs learning the skills they need to succeed in the hospitality industry.
On May 4, the group of nine students put their skills on the chopping board during “A Taste of The Islands,” a themed dinner event. From planning to preparation to plating and presentation, the students placed all of the skills and fundamentals they learned during the course on the line.
Highlights from the night included: black bean soup topped with farmer’s cheese, red onions, cilantro and crispy pork; island style shrimp and scallop ceviche; Jamaican Braised pork belly with house pickled vegetables; and plantain turnovers.
“What an encouragement it is for our students to be able to meet graduates of the program and local food bloggers,” said Pam Moss, culinary arts program manager. “Students have worked very hard in this program and they aspire to be part of the culinary community.”
On May 11, students prepared for their ultimate showcase — Chef’s Table — where family and friends of the graduates, along with university administrators, were treated to “Sapori d’Italia,” a five-course Italian meal. In the kitchen, students were flying into action — cutting, seasoning, cooking and plating — using all their skills to craft decadent dishes.
“Tonight, we say congratulations,” Pam said. “We have seen them as students, but tonight when they leave, I hope we see them as chefs.”
The Culinary Apprenticeship Certificate began in 2008 with three students. Today the program serves between nine and 15 student chefs each year and has graduated nearly 60 professional chefs. The program is based on the European model of teaching. Students learn in a state-of-the-art industrial kitchen and take part in multiple apprenticeships where work with professional chefs.
Skyler Dortch, recent graduate, received two job offers before the completion of the program.
“Tonight we did the Chef’s Table and it was real fun,” Skyler said. “I’ve worked real hard for the past nine months, and I’ve gotten two job offers [through apprenticeship sites]. I had a great team behind me and it was a total success. I’m happy.”
The Culinary Apprenticeship program begins each September and ends in May of the following year. Students in the program are required to complete 420 hours of apprenticeship at several prestigious venues, including, but not limited to:
The students concluded the night by expressing their gratitude and appreciation to their families for their continued support and the instructors who have guided them since day one of the program.
“Our job is not finished when you leave here,” Pam said as she addressed the students at the end of night. “Our obligation to you is finished, but our desire for you to succeed continues.”
The next Culinary Apprenticeship cohort begins September 7, 2016.