Patina Restaurant has partnered up with A Place Called Home (APCH), a safe haven for
at-risk youth, and Santee Education Complex High School to create a new Chef's Apprentice program beginning April 12. Patina and A Place Called Home designed the program in order to give under-served Los Angeles high schoolers an opportunity to learn about the culinary trade and also to gain confidence and life skills while working in a fast paced kitchen.
Participants will shadow Patina's award winning Executive Chef Tony Esnault for three months, learning everything from basic cooking skills to the art of preparing Patina's upscale French cuisine. Following the program, apprentices will have a chance to interview for a position with Patina Restaurant Group, which has approximately sixty restaurants and food operations across the country.
With the Chef's Apprentice at Patina Restaurant kicking off in less than a week, we caught up with Esnault to ask him a few questions about the program.
HP: What do you hope participants take away from the experience of working with you in the Chef's Apprentice program?
TE: I hope participants will learn the basics of how a kitchen works. Everything from basic cooking skills, kitchen/station organization, discipline, grooming standards, working as a team, setting goals and accomplishing the goals. I hope they will take away pride in themselves for accomplishing this apprenticeship.
HP: What do you personally hope to take away from this experience?
TE: I want to feel as though I have helped the young people of Los Angeles. It is necessary to reach out when given the opportunity and I am thankful to be involved. I hope to have been a bridge for a young person to help them to be successful in the future.
HP: Did you have a mentor when you first started out in your career? If so, what role did that play in your life? In your career?
TE: I feel very fortunate to have had many mentors along the way who have helped pave the way for me. I am grateful for their guidance and support. These mentors showed me how important it is to mentor others and give back which I have made a goal to continually accomplish.
HP: Where can you see the students going after having completed this program?
TE: I hope the students will continue their culinary education. I hope this is just the beginning of a great culinary career. This opportunity should give the participants a foundation to build upon to accomplish their long term goals.