When evaluating culinary internships, it is important to work closely with your school to determine whether a particular internship program meets your school's requirements. It is also important to consider your financial situation when choosing between paid and unpaid internships. Another consideration is whether the skills you will learn during the internship coincide with your own career goals. Finally, you should ensure that the internship is at a location that you can travel to and that the hours of your internship are compatible with your other work or family responsibilities.
If you are currently in culinary school, you may be required to complete one or more culinary internships in order to graduate. Even if your school does not require you to complete an internship, many people find that culinary internships can help prepare them for work in the kitchen and may increase their chances of being hired for a good job. In many cases, your school will help place you in an internship program. For example, representatives from various restaurants, caterers, or food producers may visit your school and conduct interviews.
When discussing culinary internships with representatives of the organizations for whom you my work, you should ask about their internship program and the types of experiences that you can expect if you participate. Ideally, the organization has developed a well-organized internship program that will expose you to many different aspects of cooking and running a kitchen. If the program does not seem to be well organized, you may wish to seek out other culinary internships unless you already have a significant amount of kitchen work experience.
One important thing to find out is whether you will be paid during your internship. Although unpaid internships can often be valuable for career development, in some cases they are simply not financially feasible, particularly if you are going to have to quit or cut your hours at your current job. Be sure to clarify compensation before agreeing to enter into a particular internship.
You should also think about your short- and long-term career goals when evaluating culinary internships. If you would like to work in a hotel kitchen, for example, it makes sense to seek out internships at resorts and hotels. On the other hand, if you want to work in small restaurants, you may want to look at different internship sites. If you are having a difficult time selecting an appropriate venue, speak to your faculty adviser, professors, and fellow students to get their opinions and feedback about the various internship opportunities available to you.