December 7, 2020

Externs are a valuable part of the kitchen team, and partnering with a culinary school can get you regular access to these hardworking, well-trained students.

An externship partnership can help keep your business well-staffed, saving you time and effort in building a professional workforce. By working with a reputable culinary school like Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts, employers can bring on full-time, entry-level employees who are nearing graduation day. These employees are then able to satisfy their externship requirements, while also filling an important role in the kitchen hierarchy.

Patricia Souza, VP of Career Services at Escoffier“Employers contact Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts because they understand that when they interview our students, they are going to meet with skilled workers that have an understanding of terminology, sanitation, and safety guidelines, and a desire to build upon the foundations they received through Escoffier with a career in the culinary industry.”
Patricia Souza, Vice President of Career Services at Escoffier

Here are a few of the benefits that culinary externship partners get to enjoy.

Consistent Access to Well-Trained Cooks

While COVID-19 has temporarily decreased business volume, it hasn’t reduced the demand for skilled culinary talent. Escoffier Employer Relations Manager Natalie Schaible has heard from hiring managers that it’s still hard to find trained talent, or that they wish their current staff were better trained.

Working with culinary school externs gives employers consistent access to educated employees that can start strongly. With a ground floor understanding of culinary skills and a willingness to learn, these graduates are ready for their first culinary jobs.

Employers are also more likely to see consistency from culinary school grads. A line cook, even one with several years of experience, may or may not have received training on sanitation, for example.

But by partnering with Escoffier, employers know that each extern has had the same education. Students within the same program will have completed the same basic curriculum. This can help employers to “standardize” their externships, since they’ll know what students have studied.

One criticism that chefs often have of culinary school students and graduates is that they can be a bit “big for their britches.” In other words, they think they’re chefs. At Escoffier, we’re very clear with our students — we’re training them to be professional cooks, but they must maintain their eagerness to learn well beyond graduation day. They’re not chefs yet — but one day, they may be.

Jennifer Etzkin, Corner Restaurant, JW Marriott Austin Executive Chef“I’ve had the pleasure of working with several students of Escoffier who have done their externships here at the JW Marriott…Their program is unparalleled in the community in terms of discipline, and also the actual material presented to the students. I would recommend hiring Escoffier graduates to other employers by virtue of the fact that I’ve had a great experience with so many of them. In one word, I would sum up my experience with Escoffier grads as ‘fulfilling.’”
Jennifer Etzkin, Executive Chef, Corner Restaurant – JW Marriott Austin

Find Your Next Entry-Level Cook

The second biggest problem in the restaurant industry according to owners is hiring and training staff. The restaurant turnover rate had reached an all-time high of 75% in 2019. And turnover is both disruptive and expensive, with the average cost to replace a restaurant industry employee at $6,800.

Finding staff and working to reduce turnover are constants in this industry. Externships give employers a low-cost way to add to your team, whether on a short-term or long-term basis.

A cook in an apron makes a salad of vegetables and pizza
Patricia Souza, Vice President of Career Services at Escoffier, said, “We really look at our employer partners’ expectations and our externship students’ abilities, and we try to match both for a long-term relationship.” With an average age of about 30, Escoffier students are often older and established in their communities.

While Escoffier externs may often begin in entry-level positions, they may not stay in them for long! Stacey Jones, a Pastry Arts graduate, completed her externship at hip Austin restaurant Sway. That externship led to a promotion to pastry chef, which led to a position as Sous Chef, which led to her current role in the company as Chef de Cuisine!

“I have hired many students from all over the country from many different schools, and Escoffier definitely has one of the better certificate programs in the country.”
Paul Ferzacca, Chef/Owner of La Tour

Help Train the Future Generation of Cooks & Chefs

While employers get well-trained, entry-level kitchen staff, they have an important responsibility, too.

Hiring chefs will have the privilege of training and mentoring future culinarians. They get to share their knowledge with the next generation, protecting culinary expertise for future chefs. This is vitally important at a time when some older methods of classical cuisine are being lost to technology and modern conveniences.

Smiling male and female cooks in commercial kitchen
Escoffier’s partners have the freedom to put their externs to work however they see fit. There is no structured requirement or written reporting necessary for Escoffier’s externs — they’re to be treated as employees. So you get the benefits of externs that you can help mold and train, without a large time commitment.

“[Escoffier] students from the online program — I was very, very impressed when I saw the energy and skills and knowledge they were bringing to the company. One of our responsibilities as professionals is to pass on our knowledge. And knowledge you get from practice, education, and mentorship.”
Michael Pythoud, Culinary Director, Walt Disney World Deluxe Resorts

Access a National Network

Most culinary schools have one or a few campuses, which means their graduates are often looking for externships and employment in the same local market.

With Escoffier’s online programs, we have graduates and connections all across the U.S.A national brand, like Escoffier employer partner Sodexo or Omni Hotels & Resorts, can therefore find externs and employees for their culinary operations in nearly any city! These employers provide a stable home base where graduates can establish roots and grow in their careers.

This national network also means that companies that plan to relocate or expand to a new city may be able to find qualified externs and employees that share the same high-quality Escoffier credentials.

Tracy Teichman, Escoffier Corporate Partnerships Director“A relationship with Escoffier ensures consistency in training, regardless of location, because of our national presence. There is no other culinary school who can offer this.”
Tracy Teichman, Escoffier Corporate Partnerships Director

An employer partnership isn’t only valuable when you’re making new hires. Partners can also send their current employees to Escoffier’s Corporate Training Program. Students can complete their programs online, and they can fulfill their externship requirements on the job! Qualified students within the program can access a $2,000 scholarship, making this extra training more affordable.

Partner with Escoffier

Partnering with a culinary school ensures your operation is always well-staffed with qualified employees. Whether through an extern student or ensuring access to higher education for your existing staff, the Escoffier Employer Partner Program has you covered across the nation. Employers that invest this time into young culinarians will reap the rewards down the line!

“When I hire an Escoffier student, I know that I’m going to get someone with talent, creativity, and passion for the art.”
Holden O’Leary, Executive Chef, Jolynn’s Food and Spirits & Escoffier Culinary Arts Graduate

If you’re interested in partnering with Escoffier to provide externships or employment opportunities to graduates, get in touch!

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