A popular Disney-Pixar movie once hinted at the idea that “anyone can cook”. But long before the movie was shown, the essence of the motto already gained its own popularity and encouraged promising young culinary geniuses to take cooking lessons and cooking internships. More and more people grew fascinated in the activity and became interested in professionalizing their craft and getting into the restaurant business.
Culinary Arts is the art of superior cooking. Culinary artists, or culinarians, are tasked to prepare dishes that are pleasant not just in taste but visually as well. Graduates of this program also get to widen their knowledge of diet and nutrition and food science that get them drawn to career opportunities in various dining service institutions. One of the important components of the program is chef training apprentices or cooking internships, which permit students to get away from the structured learning atmosphere of the classroom and right into a the real, fast paced activities of a working kitchen. The combination of formal culinary systems and on-the-job experience prepares the students to his actual employment, paving the road to a successful career path.
Today, a number of restaurants are reported to be run not by professional chefs, but by culinary interns. The International Culinary School at Art Institute of Salt Lake City in Draper, Utah opened a student-managed restaurant, The Savory Palate, and proved to be very successful. The students were able to entice patrons with delectable five-star cuisine dining and ambiance at very reasonable prices. Utah Valley University’s culinary school followed suit and opened Greg’s Restaurant, where diners were treated with five-course French dinner courses for the lowest possible price. Hunter TAFE’s Hamilton Campus in New South Wales, Australia opened two restaurants that are being run by their front-of-the-house students and apprentice chefs in their chef uniforms, and got enormous support from their patrons. There’s also Monroe 200 in Frederick, Maryland, where nine culinary students schedule shifts to work in the restaurant and in the kitchen.
And even ten-year-old chef aspirants now get to run their own restaurants! The Shipston Primary School in Warwickshire, United Kingdom opened two restaurants where Fifth Graders treated some 50 community members to an exemplary array of international fares. With the aid of helpful tips from professionals and given proper training, students wearing kids’ aprons and chefs’ uniforms took turns doing the task of front liners as well as kitchen staff.
Diners seem to take delight in feasting at these apprentice-ran restaurants as they get to taste a variety of gastronomic samplings for a lesser cost. They see the students’ enthusiasm and passion for their craft, and proved really supportive. Students love the activity too, as they acquire realistic on-the-job experiences in running a real life restaurant business early in their career.
What draws cooking-enthusiasts to try their hand at culinary internship? The common aspect in all these programs is that future chefs go through a series of challenging courses, from menu conceptualization, to actual meal pricing, preparation and detailed implementation. Added bonuses are the students’ satisfaction of up-close interaction with their customers as early as being students and an in-depth realization (and evaluation) of their ambition to work in the kitchen. Understanding and going through this experience proves invaluable in shaping the success of these future chefs.