Attending a top-ranked culinary arts program is a great way for students to expose themselves to the time-tested techniques and philosophies of the culinary world, especially if their school follows the principles of extremely successful Michelin-starred chefs like Alain Ducasse. However, you shouldn’t just limit your learning experiences to just your school’s curriculum. When classwork ends, it’s about accumulating as many real world experiences as you can in the form of culinary arts internships.
Internships are a vital part of an aspiring chef’s growth as a culinary professional, which is why students should take their internships seriously. The last thing you want to do is to choose a random place and not be able to put what you’ve learned to practice. That said, here are three tips to help you make the most out of your culinary arts internships:
1. Choose an opportunity that is aligned with your personal goals
Great chefs are not born; they are made through hard work and dedication. Your internship is one of the best ways to put the skills you’ve developed in class to good use, as well as an opportunity to learn skills that complement the skill set you learn from your instructors. As such, you are highly encouraged to take internship opportunities that are aligned with your personal goals.
Interested in opening an Italian restaurant of your own in the future? Build your base by taking an internship with a reputable Italian restaurant. Dream of working as an Executive Chef for an international hotel chain? Secure an internship in one of their kitchens.
2. Leverage your Office of Career Services for recommendations
Colleges and universities will often have an Office of Career Services that helps students find internships. In particular, the top culinary arts colleges in Manila will have several industry partners that accept a set number of students for internship opportunities each year. Take advantage of this since some kitchens won’t openly advertise internships. This is especially true for places like award-winning restaurants or 5-star hotels.
Make sure you set aside time to sit down with a member of the career services team and explain what you want to learn or accomplish during your internship. This way, they can connect you with the right opportunities.
3. Pick the brain of your supervisor
In most kitchens, you will be placed under the care and supervision of a more senior member of the brigade. They will be in-charge of looking after you and getting you up to speed in the kitchen. However, don’t see this as the only way you can learn from your supervisor.
If you have the time, why not treat your supervisor to a cup of coffee and have a chat after your work shift? This is a great time to pick your supervisor’s brain and ask more about his or her career, accumulated experiences, and feedback on your performance so far. Not only is this a great way to learn things outside of what’s on the curriculum of your culinary arts course, but it’s also a great way to build your own personal network.