How Can I Find a Culinary Arts Internship?

A culinary arts program teaches you how to cook and prepare dishes, but a culinary arts internship teaches you even more. Internships allow you to gain some valuable real life experience that will look great on your resume and experiences that will show employers you know how to handle yourself in the kitchen. While your college or program can help you land one of these internships, you can also search for one yourself. Make sure you know everything you need to know about completing an internship before applying for one.

What is an Internship?

An internship is a type of practical fieldwork experience that you can do while enrolled in college or a culinary arts training program. Most internships are worth three credit hours, and you’ll find both paid and unpaid options available. Culinary arts students often look for internships working in nearby restaurants. There is a big difference between cooking dishes in a classroom kitchen and cooking food on a restaurant line with high temperatures and dozens of other workers around you. Internships typically last for one semester. You can do one during the regular school year or over the summer break.

Where Can You Work?

One of the top places that culinary arts students work while doing an internship is in a restaurant kitchen. This gives you the chance to work on the line and prepare dishes for customers waiting in the dining room. You may prefer working in a hotel kitchen and cooking dishes for room services customers and those in the dining room. Several cruise ship lines like those operated by Disney also accept interns. You might spend up to six months working for a cruise line and making dishes for the buffet and ship restaurants for school credit.

Where to Find Internships

The best place to find a culinary arts internship is through the career development office on campus. Most colleges and vocational schools have these departments and offices available to assist current and graduating students. Workers can help you find internships in cities near campus and help you put together your resume or application package. Internship websites serve as another valuable search tool. You can narrow down your search based on location, paid vs. unpaid internships or the type of skills needed. Some students find internships by visiting local restaurants and hotels and talking with the managers about available opportunities.

Internships vs. Co-Ops

If your school offers both internships and co-ops, you need to understand the difference between the two. A co-op is similar to an internship but usually lasts longer and requires more of a commitment. Instead of taking classes at the same time like you would with an internship, you’ll spend an entire semester or more working for a co-op employer. Co-op experiences often have more responsibilities attached. You might spend time working in each area of the kitchen and preparing everything from desserts and breads to entrees and side dishes. According to Briana Boyington, a co-op gives you more hands on experience than you would get in an internship.

Culinary arts students learn how to prepare ingredients, cook dishes and keep kitchens clean and safe. You can find a culinary arts internship that teaches you even more valuable skills through your school, online sites and in hotels and restaurants in your city.