Brian Duffett is enrolled in a 4,000-hour apprenticeship program through Jefferson State Community College’s Hospitality/Culinary Management Department. In June, Duffett competed against 26 competitors in the National SkillsUSA Culinary Competition to earn a gold medal and $50,000 scholarship to Culinary Institute of America.
Duffett shares his apprenticeship experience and his next steps. Share this post on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to help others learn more about the value of culinary apprenticeships.
Where are you enrolled in the apprenticeship program?
I am apprenticing at Elyton Hotel in Birmingham, Alabama.
How many hours is the program you are enrolled in?
The program is 4,000 hours and I am currently at 3,600 hours.
What are your roles and responsibilities in your apprenticeship?
My role is to prep sauté or grill in the kitchen. My job at the restaurant is to do whatever the Executive Chef Haller Magee asks me to do. My main position right now at the kitchen is to work the sauté station for dinner service.
Why did you choose an apprenticeship — what did you see as the advantages?
I chose an apprenticeship to get hands-on training in a kitchen. The advantage I saw was cooking in a kitchen while other students were just going to school. I did this program so that I can earn certifications faster.
How do you expect your apprenticeship to prepare you for your career?
I’m almost done with my apprenticeship and I would say the job has taught me the basics of cooking, new flavor profiles and even different plating techniques. I see it as the more things I learn during this apprenticeship the better I will be later in my own career.
What advice do you have for others considering an apprenticeship?
I advise them to show up every day at work and just do what’s asked of them from the chef and do it to the best of your ability. I would advise them to cook with some heart and be passionate in the kitchen so that it shows in your food.
What is the most interesting thing you’ve learned in your apprenticeship?
I’ve learned way too much to choose a specific thing, but I would say the most interesting thing is about how many items on our menu are based off the basics and how important the basics are in the kitchen.
What’s next for you?
I plan to graduate from Jefferson State Community College’s Culinary Program and then head off to New York to attend Culinary Institute of America where I plan to get my bachelor’s degree.
An apprenticeship is a unique and cost-effective way to put you on the fast-track to ACF certification and boost your career with hands-on learning. Want more information on ACFEF-accredited apprenticeships? Fill out the form below.