The CASA gourmet chef curriculum, including restaurateur lessons, is designed to be highly comprehensive and foster an in-depth understanding of the professional objectives and practices involved in this exciting career. A successful restaurateur possesses both a big-picture view and a firsthand knowledge of how the various components of a restaurant work together to result in a specific dining experience for patrons of the establishment. If the executive chef is the master of the cuisine, the restaurateur is the master of everything else that successfully stages and enhances the experience of enjoying a fine meal.
Our mentored apprenticeship program matches highly committed, driven individuals with working restaurateurs for direct, hands-on training that is geared towards building firsthand experience within the profession. Developing the right eye and awareness is essential for those who want to thrive in this dynamic career. For this reason, lessons with the mentor are based around conversations, experience and building skills in a holistic manner that are integrated with the course work. The restaurateur apprentice will work firsthand with their mentor, witnessing how they do what they do on a day-to-day basis. Prior to that, they will learn the flow and practices of the restaurant, to understand how, like the gears of a clock, various parts work together to create a stellar dining experience for the guests who are truly the real bosses of any restaurant.
Lessons one to five of the métier coursework focus on building and refining the highly specialized eye of the restaurateur, incorporating business practices and restaurant management skills, as well as developing a keen understanding of market trends and fluctuations within the culinary arts world.
Other lessons within the curriculum focus on building a firsthand understanding of front-of-house (FOH) and back-of-house (BOH) operations, even shadowing with the sous chef, sommelier, bartender and floor manager. Every facet of the restaurant’s business will be learned through actual experience and hands-on practice, enabling the apprentice to become the professional they set out to be, while also giving them the opportunity to make connections and build rapport.
CASA’s approach enables the apprentice to utilize their externship as an opportunity to build and refine their own restaurant concept, from the initial inspiration and on through the creation of a comprehensive business plan that is informed by experience and reviewed by the mentor. For the final exam, the apprentice will have the opportunity to pitch their restaurant concept and business plan to a chef, sous chef and potential investor.
With CASA, you have the rare opportunity to learn from within the truly unique environment of a professional restaurant as an apprentice to a real, working restaurateur. Lesson days and times are flexible and up to the discretion of the mentor and apprentice. With our commonsense program, even working professionals can get their start in this exciting career.
Coursework is delivered via distance education and completed at a location determined by the student. Externship apprenticeship locations may be up to 60 miles away from the student’s address. The externship apprenticeship mentor will work with each student on structuring a specific schedule. The student agrees that he/she/they will be available to meet with the mentor for a minimum of two sessions per week.