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Chefs' organization updates its apprenticeship program

The ACF is adding online instruction to counter geographic challenges to apprenticing. The move promises to draw more aspiring back-of-house professionals.
Photograph: Shutterstock

The American Culinary Federation (ACF) is revamping its apprenticeship program to put the classroom portion of the training within reach of more aspiring chefs. 

The chefs’ organization is putting instructional materials and skill evaluation tools online to provide apprenticeships with the option of learning via their smartphones or desktop computers. The principles of the program were also modified to facilitate the online learning.

The objective was to negate location as a barrier to turning cooks into chefs. “There’s a mistaken impression that future chefs need to relocate to a small list of big cities in order to get the highest level of training and experience—that no longer has to be the case,” said Jeremy Abbey, director of culinary programs for the ACF, in a statement.

Eliminating any problems with location will in turn help the industry meet its need for trained chefs, the ACF said.

The new online educational portal should also ease the task of developing and managing apprenticeship programs for employers looking to work with the ACF, the group said. 

The ACF’s 40-year-old apprenticeship program combines textbook-based learning with the practical education that comes from working in restaurants or foodservice facilities. 

The 90-year-old ACF has a membership of 15,500 chefs nationwide.

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