The Future is Bright for ACF Apprentices

Brian Duffett is enrolled in a 4,000-hour apprenticeship program through Jefferson StateDSC6588-450x300 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.

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Apprenticeships: An Invaluable Career Experience

An apprenticeship that is accredited by the American Culinary Federation Education Foundation (ACFEF) offers a combination of on-the-job experience and related classroom instruction. ACFEF apprenticeships have expanded access to hands-on culinary training for emerging professionals since the formal program began in 1979.  Today, there are more than 1,280 registered apprentices in 49 ACFEF programs across the nation.

An apprenticeship offers flexibility in learning and working, with many programs offering wages above the minimum wage and placing students in work settings such as casinos, hotels, country clubs, hospitals, resorts and restaurants. The program provides students the opportunity to work each station to gain a full understanding of the culinary operation.

Upon graduation from an ACFEF-apprenticeship program, apprentices are equipped with the skills to take the Certified Sous Chef exam and enter the workforce prepared for entry-level management positions. Indeed, culinary apprenticeships laid the foundation for many great chefs’ careers, from culinary educators to James Beard Award winning chefs.

Under the supervision and guidance of qualified chefs, an ACFEF apprenticeship is a cost-effective way to put apprentices in direct contact with positive role models in successful, yet demanding work environments.

Joshua Wickham, CEC, CEPC, AAC, a graduate of the Columbus State Community College program, admits that his apprenticeship was one of the harder things he’s done in his life, but was well worth the struggle. “Throughout the program the ACF was behind me to support and inspire. It was the combination of my school, my supervising chef, and most importantly the ACF and its solid program outline and guidance that made me successful.”

Explore the articles below to learn more about ACFEF-accredited apprenticeships or fill out the form to get more information on an ACFEF-apprenticeship program.

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An Apprentice on the Move: Kendall Ross

_EST1022Kendall Ross, chef de partie, does not stop moving, and he wouldn’t have it any other way. Ross is part of a traveling culinary team on tour with Rod Stewart and Cyndi Lauper, cooking three meals out of a mobile kitchen for a crew of about 100 people in a different location daily.

“We have a large transformer to power everything, two ovens, six induction burners, one flat top, two circulators, one cryovac machine, a Robot Coupe, KitchenAid mixer, pots and pans and smallwares that we pack on a trailer every night,” says Ross. He works directly with two other chefs, with complete creative control over the menu. “It’s a great environment,” he adds.

At 24 years old, an ACF national member, Ross is a graduate of the ACFEF apprenticeship program at The Broadmoor Hotel & Resort, Colorado Springs, Colorado, and staged in such acclaimed establishments as Daniel, The Nomad and The Gasparilla Inn & Club, to name a few.

His outlook is humble and optimistic: “It’s still early in my career. I’m still at the point where I’m learning the cuisine of the masters.” In his downtime, he connects with chefs in cities that he met in years’ past. Indeed, maintaining these connections, along with a solid work ethic, opened the door to this position.

In the future, he plans to open an upscale-casual restaurant in Charlotte, North Carolina, his hometown. For now, he is building on his experiences to find his voice and develop his own cuisine.

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Follow along to see what Kendall’s life is like since graduating from the ACFEF apprenticeship program at the Broadmoor Hotel & Resort.

 

 

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National Apprenticeship Week

From Apprentice to Restaurant Ownership.

Colorado Mountain College’s Culinary Arts Institute has a strong track record of graduating accomplished chefs who go out into the world to make their mark. The combination of affordable classroom instruction and a traditional American Culinary Federation Education Foundation apprenticeship program at Keystone Ski Resort in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains simply can’t be beat.

A shining example of the program’s success is chef Brian Baker, who graduated from the apprenticeship program in 2000. Baker was executive chef at Ski Tip Lodge, which earlier this year was named the No. 6 best restaurant in the country by OpenTable. In 2007, he cooked at the James Beard House, alongside five other Colorado Mountain College alumni. And he opened his own restaurant, Watershed Café in Leavenworth, Washington, this summer.

For Baker it was “pretty spectacular” to get the nod from OpenTable. “This year, being named sixth best restaurant in the country goes to show that consistency in product and a quality staff in the front and the back of the house – the majority of whom come from Colorado Mountain College’s culinary program – makes a real difference,” he says.

Baker’s philosophy at Ski Tip was to put pride, passion, education and energy into everything that they do.  And that care showed.

“I have had the pleasure of watching Chef Baker grow and mature from a culinary student with a lot of raw talent to a refined technician who has elevated his restaurant into one of the best in the nation,” said Kevin Clarke, director of culinary education, Colorado Mountain College Culinary Institute. “He has always had a clear vision about the food he wants to serve his guests and he is uncompromising on his standards. He has created a path to success that many young culinarians often want to try to skip, but I feel it is a key to his success as it has allowed him to truly learn his craft.

Baker was a dedicated apprentice and a member of the student culinary team. His career took off when he  accepted a  sous chef position in one of Colorado Mountain College’s apprenticeship program’s fine-dining restaurants, where he moved into a chef de cuisine position and then quickly moved into the executive chef role. Baker continued to give back to program that helped him reach success by hosting an apprenticeship program at the Ski Tip Lodge where he pushed his apprentices to be the best that they can be every day.