Mentoring Our Future
RiverMead Executive Chef Keith Fournier and our current intern from the Culinary Institute of America
In 1977 a Chef named Louis Szathmary worked hard to convince the US Department of Labor to change the status of a chef from Service to Professional, Tech & Management. With this, certification and apprenticeship programs were created. Chef Louis also coined one of my favorite quotes "I have always felt one of the most important things in life, was to give my acquired knowledge to the next generation". This statement should ring true with all professions.
When I started in this business, I had my own mentors that helped to guide and shape me for success. These folks are people that I will never forget, and I appreciate everything they had done for my career. I had these people in the past that cared about my successes, so it makes perfect sense to assist others that want to seriously pursue a career in Culinary Arts.
In the past we have done internships with ConVal High School. Some of these students moved on to Johnson and Wales, Culinary Institute of America and Orlando Culinary Academy. One student actually had the opportunity to work with a couple of Certified Master Chefs. Currently we have a student from the Culinary Institute of America doing her internship at RiverMead.
What these internships do, is to give the students practical skills, obtain proper work ethic, inspire a passion for food, incite excitement, understand proper technique, etc. in a real working kitchen. They can apply principles learned at school to actual experiences so it makes more sense to them.
Mentoring future chefs, is not just about having an extra pair of hands in the kitchen, but to inspire. Mentoring culinary students who really want this as a career is vital, especially with current declining workforce in the food service industry. Who knows, these folks may be future employees someday!