Intro Letter to Mentor Chefs

Apprentice Qualifications

Inland Empire Chefs

& Cooks Association

Interested in our Apprenticeship Program?


Dear chef,

 The apprenticeship program was developed through the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and the American Culinary Federation (ACF). The apprentice can be registered with both or just with the ACF. The ACF sets the guidelines and the DOL. regulates all the programs. Our apprentices do a 4,000 hour program that lasts for 2 years if the apprentice works 40 hours a week, but we are flexible to go beyond that since we understand that sometimes an apprentice may work less then that some weeks out of the year. The apprentice does come in with experience, we never send out an apprentice that has either never graduated from culinary school or does not have at least one year of full time experience as a cook; these are the minimum requirements. Wages are up to the chef. We inform the apprentice to expect to start out at minimum wage. This is the trade for the training one receives. The trade off is reaching the level of Certified sous Chef within a two year period. Normally this process would take up to 4 years. See below. There is a standard wage progression formula, but ultimately it will be up to the chef to determine wage and progression.

Chefs do not have to take a registered apprentice from our pool. A chef may have someone already working for them in the kitchen who meets the minimum qualifications for the program. The chef may feel more comfortable making someone they already have working for them their apprentice. We embrace this idea and will work with the chef.   

All fees for the program are the responsibility of the apprentice. The apprentice is also required to take subject related courses like beverage management, nutrition and supervisory development. These classes are completed on the apprentices own time. There are other courses that are taken at Riverside Culinary Academy on Tuesday Evenings so we ask that the employers allow the apprentice off during that time.

There are 10 areas in the kitchen that the apprentice is required to rotate in. Each area requires a certain amount of hours; these hours make up the 4,000 so on average each area requires about 400 hours. The areas are general, like grilling, pantry, steward, etc. The chef does not have to keep the apprentice in the area until they are done with the hours. The chef should use the apprentice no different than he would any other cook in their kitchen. It will be up to the apprentice to record the hours for each area at the end of the day. For example, if the apprentice works the grill station for 2 hours, the pantry for 3 hours and then do some fabrication for 2 hours, then the apprentice would record those hours at the end of the day that relate to the 10 areas. The hours are recorded on an online portal that has all the criteria. When the apprentice is finished with an area the chef simply goes in to the portal and signs the apprentice off. The ACF designed this portal because they understand how busy chefs are today. All they ask is that they make sure that the apprentice completes all the stations within the 2 year time frame. Any additional time spent with the apprentice by the chef or any additional activities that would benefit the apprentice would be appreciated. The goal of the entire program is to prepare the apprentice to finally take the ACF Certified Sous Chef written and practical exam at the end of their term. These exams are done at approved ACF sites by ACF judges. Chefs who take apprentices not only benefit the apprentice, but benefit the establishment as well. In the apprentice the chefs receives a dedicated passionate individual who is committed to learning and giving 110% to the kitchen in which they are working. At the end, the chef ends up with an employee who is a qualified sous chef.   


Chef David Avalos, CCE

Apprenticeship Chair

Southern California Inland Empire Chefs & Cooks Association



Southern California Inland Empire Chefs & Cooks Association

 Dissemination Date:    May, 2010

Notice of Apprenticeship Opportunity For The Trade Of  COOK

 Sponsor will accept applications for the employment as an apprentice between the hours of 8:00am to 3:00pm or by mail, Monday through Friday at:

 Riverside Culinary Academy
Attn. Chef David Avalos, CCE
1155 Spruce Street
Riverside, Ca. 92507 /    
Applicants shall meet the following minimum qualifications:

A.        Age
                        Shall be at least 17years. (Applicants must provide evidence of minimum age respecting any applicable State Laws or regulations.) 
                        B.        Education

 Applicant shall be a high school graduate, or its equivalent. They must possess a speaking and reading ability as essential for personal and coworker safety on the job as well as being able to read or understand written or oral instructions which are equivalent to the literacy and comprehension found among persons with at least eight years of general schooling.  They must satisfactorily complete the required related instruction and meet any entrance requirements of the specific post-secondary institution.

Applicants must:
1. Be members of the ACF for the entire time that they are apprentices, including when they graduate as an apprentice. 

2.Have at least one year of full-time work experience as a line cook in a full service restaurant establishment within the last 12 months. Documentation from employer to verify full-time employment will be required,


Be a graduate from an Accredited Certificated Culinary Arts program (at least 1,000 contact hours) or an Associated Occupational Studies (A.O.S.) degree Culinary Arts program within the last four years.

Official transcripts will be required to verify the applicant’s completion of the program.

See Sections K, L, M, & N for additional qualification selection procedures.

3.Have taken a 30 hour Safety and Sanitation course or have a current ServSafe Certificate from the National Restaurant Association. The apprentice must maintain a current certificate throughout the program. Proof of class is required.

Applicants must submit a DD-214 to verify military training and/or experience if they are a veteran and wish to receive consideration for such training/experience.

C.       Physical

Applicants will be physically capable of performing the essential functions of the apprenticeship program, with or without a reasonable accommodation, and without posing a direct threat to the health and safety of the individual or others.

Applicants may be subject to a physical agility or fitness test, or screened for the current illegal use of drugs or both on acceptance into the program and prior to being employed.

 D.        Aptitude Test

All applicants must pass each section of Culinary Written Exam.

 The apprentices must meet any other entrance requirement determined by the Apprenticeship Committee.

ACF requires that apprentices become Junior ACF members immediately after being selected as an apprentice

Those accepted into the program will be required to purchase the Apprenticeship Handbook immediately after their acceptance to the program; read, understand and sign the agreement page.   


A.        Applicants will be accepted throughout the year.  All persons requesting an application will have one made available by the Apprenticeship Committee.

B.  All applications will be identical in form and requirements.  (Sample Chapter Application for Apprenticeship follows)

C.  Prior to the time of the personal interview with the apprenticeship committee, the applicant should submit the application with any additional references, diplomas, transcripts, or documentation which may be pertinent.  Each applicant must submit a 300 word essay entitled “Why I Want to be a Chef” at the same time. 

D.  Completed applications will be reviewed for minimum qualifications.  Applicants deficient in one or more qualifications or requirements or making false statements on their application will be notified in writing of their disqualification. The applicant will also be notified of the appeals right available to them.  No further processing of the application will be taken.

E.  Applicants meeting the minimum qualifications and submitting the required documents will be notified where and when to appear for the interview.


A.        The Apprenticeship Committee will schedule the interview and evaluation session.  All applicants who have met the minimum qualifications and have submitted the required documents must be notified of the date, time, and place to appear. 

B.        The interviewer(s) will rate each applicant during the interview on each of the factors on the Chapter Apprentice Interview Assessment Form (sample follows) taking into account the information on the application, and required documents, if applicable and the judgment derived from the interview.

C.        All applicants receiving 70 to 100 points in the evaluation below shall be      considered acceptable to be placed in training if an opening arises.  The     evaluative objectives are established as follows:

            Item                                      Points

1.Aptitude or assessment test                                                        20

2.Character (references)                                                                                                 06

3.Letters of Recommendation                                                                                          12

4.Interview (adaptability, interest, and sincerity)                                                               42

5.Written Essay (Why I Want To Be A Chef)                                                                      20

                                                                              Total                 100

Applicants receiving less than 70 points are considered not acceptable and should be notified in writing.                           

D.After completing the interview and evaluation of the applicants, the individual rating scores of the interviewer(s) will be added together and averaged to determine the applicant’s final rating.  Those prospective apprentices who qualify should be notified by letter. It is recommended that prospective apprentices then take the placement exam of  the post-secondary institution.

E.  A conditional letter of acceptance should be sent to the prospective apprentice.  The letter should state that the individual must take a placement exam at the post-secondary institution to satisfy the aptitude component of the selection process, any costs to the apprentice, and the date of the first day of school.  

F.    Applicants will be placed on a ”Ranking List” according to their scores at the evaluation session, with the applicant having the highest score being at the top of the list, and all applicants then listed in descending order based on score.

G.  As openings for the registration of new apprentices occur, the highest ranked applicant will be notified of selection by telephone.  It will be the responsibility of the applicant to keep the Apprenticeship Committee informed of their current mailing address and telephone number.

H.  Selected applicants must respond to the notice of selection within forty-eight (48) hours of notice.  If applicants cannot be reached by telephone, their names will be passed and notice sent to their address by “Certified Mail-Return Receipt Requested,” to determine if the applicants are still interested.  If no response is received in fifteen (15) working days from the written notice, the applicant’s name will be removed from the list.  Only one certified notice will be mailed.

I.   Qualified applicants remaining on a preceding ranking list will automatically be carried forward on the new ranking list and slotted in wherever their rating score placed them for a period of two (2) years, unless the applicant has been removed from the list by their own written request or following failure to respond to an apprentice opening.  Applicants, who were not placed during the two (2) year period that were on the ranking list, will be required to reapply.

j.  During the two-year period, applicants who feel that their qualifications have improved since their original rating may submit documented evidence of such additional experience or training and request reevaluation and rating at the next regular processing cycle.

K.    Youth who complete a Job Corps training program in any occupation covered in these Apprenticeship Standards, who meet the minimum qualifications of the apprenticeship program, may be admitted directly into the program, or if no apprentice opening is available, the Job Corps graduate may be placed at the top of the current applicant ranking list and given first opportunity for placement.  The Apprenticeship Committee shall evaluate the Job Corps training received for granting appropriate credit on the term of apprenticeship.  Entry of Job Corps graduates shall be done without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, or gender.  (Note:  This is a method of direct entry into the apprenticeship program.)

L.         Veterans who completed military technical training school and participated in a registered apprenticeship program while in the military may be given direct entry into the apprenticeship program.  The Apprenticeship Committee will evaluate the military training received for granting appropriate credit on the term of apprenticeship and the appropriate wage rate.  The Apprenticeship Committee will determine what training requirements they need to meet to ensure they receive all necessary training for completion of the apprenticeship program.  Entry of veterans will be done without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, or sex.

M.        Graduates of an ACF Accredited Secondary Culinary Program and who meet the minimum qualifications of the apprenticeship program may be admitted directly into the program.  The Apprenticeship committee shall evaluate the graduate’s training and qualifications to determine the granting of credit on the term of apprenticeship.  The applicant shall meet any entrance requirements of the specific post-secondary institution.

N.        Candidates who do not meet the minimum requirements due to lack of or no experience, but know of a chef willing and prepared to take the candidate as their apprentice, will be considered. The chef and the establishment where the apprenticeship will take place must meet the required qualifications needed be considered a sponsoring house. The candidate must also pass the selection procedure with a minimum of 70%.     


A.        Any apprentice or applicant for apprenticeship who believes that he/she has been discriminated against on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, or sex, with regard to apprenticeship or that the equal opportunity standards with respect to his/her selection have not been followed in the operation of an apprenticeship program, may personally or through an authorized representative, file a complaint with the Registration Agency or, at the apprentice or applicant’s election, with the private review body established by the local Apprenticeship Committee (if applicable).

B.        The complaint will be in writing and will be signed by the complainant.  It must include the name, address, and telephone number of the person allegedly discriminated against, the Apprenticeship Committee involved, and a brief description of the circumstances of the failure to apply equal opportunity standards.

C.        The complaint must be filed not later than 180 days from the date of the alleged discrimination or specified failure to follow the equal opportunity standards, and, in the case of complaints filed directly with the review bodies designated by the Apprenticeship Committee to review such complaints, any referral of such complaint by the complainant to the Registration Agency must occur within the time limitation stated above or 30 days from the final decision of such review body, whichever is later.  The time may be extended by the Registration Agency for good cause shown. 

D.        Complaints of harassment in the apprenticeship program may be filed and processed under Title 29, CFR, Part 30, and the procedures as set forth above.

The Apprenticeship Committee will provide written notice of their complaint procedure to all applicants for apprenticeship and all apprentices.  

Career Guide to Industries, 2010-11 Edition

Working Conditions Hours. Many food services and drinking places establishments are open long hours. Staff typically is needed to work during evening, weekend, and holiday hours. Full-time employees, such as head or executive chefs and food service managers, typically work longer hours—12-hour days are common—and also may be on call to work at other times when needed. Part-time employees, usually waiters and waitresses, dining room attendants, hosts and hostesses, and fast-food employees, typically work shorter days (4–6 hours per day) or fewer days per week than most full-time employees.

Food services and drinking places employ more part-time workers than other industries. Thirty-eight percent of workers in food services and drinking places worked part time in 2008, more than twice the proportion for all industries. This allows some employees flexibility in setting their work hours, affording them a greater opportunity to tailor work schedules to personal or family needs. Some employees may rotate work on some shifts to ensure proper coverage at unpopular work times or to fully staff restaurants during peak demand times.

 Work environment. Food services and drinking places must comply with local fire, safety, and sanitation regulations, and state or local laws regarding smoking and alcohol consumption within the establishment. They also must provide appropriate public accommodations and ensure that employees use safe food-handling measures. These practices require establishments to maintain supplies of chemicals, detergents, and other materials that may be harmful if not used properly.

Typical establishments have well-designed kitchens with state-of-the-art cooking and refrigeration equipment and proper electrical, lighting, and ventilation systems to keep everything functioning. However, kitchens usually are noisy, and may be very hot near stoves, grills, ovens, or steam tables. Chefs, cooks, food preparation workers, dishwashers, and other kitchen staff may suffer minor cuts or burns, be subject to scalding or steaming liquids, and spend most of their time standing in a relatively confined area. Chefs and cooks are under extreme pressure to work quickly to stay on top of orders in a busy restaurant. The fast pace requires employees to be alert and quick-thinking, but also may result in muscle strains from trying to move heavy pots or force pressurized containers open without taking the proper safety precautions.

Dining areas also may be well designed, but can become crowded and noisy when busy. Servers, attendants, and other dining room staff, such as bartenders and hosts or hostesses, need to protect against falls, spills, or burns while serving diners and keeping service areas stocked.

Most food services and drinking places workers spend most of their time on their feet—preparing meals, serving diners, or transporting dishes and supplies throughout the establishment. Upper body strength often is needed to lift heavy items, such as trays of dishes, platters of food, or cooking pots. Work during peak dining hours can be very hectic and stressful.

Employees who have direct contact with customers, such as waiters and waitresses or hosts and hostesses, should have a neat appearance and maintain a professional and pleasant manner. Professional hospitality is required from the moment guests enter the restaurant until the time they leave. Sustaining a proper demeanor during busy times or over the course of a long shift may be difficult.

Kitchen staffs also need to be able to work as a team and to communicate with each other. Timing is critical to preparing more complex dishes. Coordinating orders to ensure that an entire table's meals are ready at the same time is essential, particularly in a large restaurant during busy dining periods.

In 2007, the rate of work-related injuries and illnesses for full-time workers in eating and drinking places was comparable to the average for all the private sector industries. Work hazards include the possibility of burns from hot equipment as well as sprained muscles and wrenched backs from heavy lifting and falls on slippery floors.

 Application Check List:
                     Copy of:
        Social Security Card 

Ca. State Issued Drivers License or ID. Card

Military Transfer or Discharge Form DD-214 (If Applicable)

High School Diploma or GED.  

Certificate or degree in Culinary Arts from accredited institution (If Applicable) 

Current ServSafe Certificate

300 Word Essay

                        Official Transcripts of Culinary Education,


Proof of 1 year Full-Time Work Experience


                        Application Form

                        Employment Record Form

                        Registration Form

                        Three Professional Letters of Recommendations (letters must be written

   specifically referring the candidate to the apprenticeship program) 

 Place all application material in a 9 x 12 manila envelope and return to:

Chef David Avalos

Riverside City College Culinary Academy

1155 Spruce Street Riverside, Ca.