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August 10, 2020

JCCC’s Chef Apprenticeship program is ambitious and rewarding.

When Janelle Domoney decided to pursue her dream of becoming a chef, JCCC’s Chef Apprenticeship program was at the top of her list.

“You get a tremendous culinary education at a community college price,” Domoney says. “I like the apprenticeship aspect – you really are learning what it’s like to work in a kitchen, to be a chef, while completing your education.”

For her apprenticeship, she chose to work at the Westin Crown Center with Executive Chef Luong Lee, a JCCC Chef Apprenticeship alumnus. “I wanted as much good, solid experience as I could get under a top-notch chef,” she says.

Never a dull moment

On any given day, Domoney’s tasks have included cooking custom orders at the omelet station in one of the hotel’s restaurants, preparing meals for the lunch rush, or prepping for a banquet.

Her team has made thousands of plates of food. All of the food has to be ready at the same time and kept at the right temperature until dozens of servers swarm the banquet hall, delivering platters to hungry guests.

As soon as the food goes out, preparation starts for the next event.

Labor of love

“Being a chef has been over-romanticized on TV,” says Jerry Marcellus, Apprentice Coordinator and Professor of Hospitality Management. “It’s a job that’s stressful, fast-paced, physically demanding and where both speed and perfection are a must in a professional kitchen.”

Even if you work as a chef at a medium- to large-sized restaurant rather than at a hotel or in catering, you must prepare many different dishes in a short period of time. And at a small restaurant, you do most of the work yourself.

Marcellus believes the program prepares students for the rigors of working in a professional kitchen – no matter where that kitchen may be.

JCCC’s robust apprenticeship program:

  • Has an Exemplary rating from its accrediting body, the American Culinary Federation (ACF)
  • Is registered with the U.S. Department of Labor
  • Requires 6,000 hours of hands-on work over three years at an ACF-accredited facility

Students who complete the 75 credit hour program also receive an Associate of Applied Science degree.

Graduates go on to run kitchens in restaurants, country clubs or hotels, or own their own restaurants. Potential chef apprentices should have:

  • A basic knowledge of measurements and understand how heat interacts with food
  • Passion for cooking and love for hard work
  • The willingness to fail, ask questions and try again

If you think you have what it takes to master the Chef Apprenticeship program, email Jerry Marcellus  or call him  at 913-469-8500, ext. 3611.