Apprenticeship Affiliate Program


This page is for chefs and restaurant owners who wish to learn more about our affiliate program and possibly sign on to be a part of a student’s apprenticeship rotation.

Our Mission: To train skilled, passionate, industry-ready cooks who understand kitchen life and welcome the challenges and rigors of our industry.

How can we accomplish this? In addition to hands-on learning in our teaching kitchen, many students also opt for our apprenticeship program, spending 1,000 hours as apprentices in professional kitchens learning what the life of a cook is all about.

Who are our affiliates? We partner with chefs and restaurateurs in Orange County and surrounding areas who meet the following criteria:

  • We love their food!
  • Food is made mostly from scratch on site
  • The kitchen and brigade is large enough to give students a variety of experiences
  • The chef is interested in being a mentor

How much of a commitment is it? Student apprentices typically work three shifts each week. For the first few months, they focus on beginner roles, like scullery and prep. Then they rotate though a variety of roles that are established between CulinaryLab and the affiliate chef at the start of the program. Examples of these roles include: various line positions (hot or cold), inventory and ordering. The chef is responsible for ensuring that the student apprentice is being exposed to new roles, techniques, and experiences. Outside of this, the only commitment is filling out short feedback forms regularly to let us know how the student is doing.

What’s in it for me? The two main reasons restaurants choose to work with CulinaryLab is:

They want to make a positive impact on students. They’ve had mentors in their careers who have made all the difference for them, and want to be that for someone else.

CulinaryLab partners with restaurants to develop strong cooks who can make a considerable positive impact on the restaurant operation.

What are students expected to do during their apprenticeship? Each apprenticeship will be different based on how quickly the student learns, and on the brigade structure at the restaurant.

Are apprentices paid or unpaid? Although some students are interested in staging or doing unpaid volunteer work, CulinaryLab only works with paid apprenticeship site as part of our affiliate program.

If you are a chef or restaurant owner who is interested in the possibility of mentoring CulinaryLab student apprentices please start by filling out the form. If your kitchen seems like a good fit for our students, we will set up a time for you to speak with our chef director.