Culinary Internships in The USA

Culinary Internships in The US: All You Need to Know
July 8, 2022

Culinary internships are pivotal programs for students, providing hands-on experience to learn about the industry, explore career paths, and build professional relationships. Participants work in kitchens and restaurants, gaining skills in food preparation, menu planning, and kitchen management, while also experiencing global cuisines. These internships foster teamwork and collaboration with chefs on intricate dishes, often leading to employment opportunities post-program completion.


Why Culinary Internships Matter

According to a survey conducted among U.S. companies, an overwhelming majority of 94.9% emphasized the significant value of previous internship experience. Hospitality and culinary enthusiasts and aspiring travel professionals seeking to expand their knowledge in the international culinary and travel sectors can greatly benefit from participating in an internship program in the United States.

By selecting a suitable program and embarking on a journey to another country, you have the opportunity to:

  1. Enhance existing skills
  2. Acquire new skills
  3. Engage in cultural exchange
  4. Gain invaluable experience

By training in renowned hotels and resorts across the United States, students and professionals from around the world can learn from industry experts. Upon returning to their home countries, they will possess enhanced skills and experience, enabling them to elevate their existing businesses, pursue more prestigious employment opportunities, or negotiate higher salaries.


Hospitality Sectors That Offer Internship Programs

A diverse range of exciting prospects and roles await individuals with various skill sets and experiences. You must strive to find an ideal opportunity that aligns perfectly with your distinctive abilities and background.

These opportunities span across different sectors, including:

  • Hotel chains
  • Luxury resorts
  • Ski resorts
  • Restaurants
  • Golf clubs
  • Amusement parks
  • National parks


Culinary Internship In The US And Your Prospects

You probably have some experience working with hotels and resorts in your country. However, working overseas with some of the best hotels and resorts will give your career a dramatic boost. You will get a chance to learn from international chefs, kitchen managers, executive chefs, and other professionals in the hospitality industry.

Besides, exchanging cultural knowledge and experience will help you broaden your perspective and think out of the box. And this is precisely what you need to build a highly successful career in the hospitality industry.

One of the most exciting aspects of engaging in food and beverage training and internships in the United States is the incredible diversity of cultures you encounter. These experiences provide the opportunity to master the art of cooking international cuisines while gaining valuable insights into the management practices of American hotels and resorts.

Related: Hospitality Management Training Programs: Your Next Big Step Towards A Brilliant Career


What Skills You Can Learn During Your Culinary Internship

Throughout your culinary internship in the United States, a personalized training plan will be developed specifically for you, ensuring comprehensive exposure to various aspects of fine-dining culinary operations. You will have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in a range of areas, including:

  • Mastering advanced knife skills
  • Food handling skills
  • Adopting U.S. plating techniques for exceptional presentation
  • Exploring innovative dish preparations
  • Participating in banquet event production
  • Engaging in menu planning
  • Learning about ordering and inventory management
  • Honing customer service skills
  • Acquiring insights into kitchen management
  • Hygiene standards

It’s important to note that the J-1 Internship Program goes beyond a typical work-experience visa, as it provides genuine training aimed at enhancing your culinary skills, improving your proficiency in professional English, and expanding your future career prospects.

Don’t forget to learn more about our hospitality management training programs in the USA!


How To Apply For A Culinary Internship In The US

A popular avenue for applying to culinary internships in the USA is through the esteemed J-1 program. Endorsed by the U.S. Department of State, the J-1 Culinary Training program enables students and professionals from all corners of the globe to partake in exceptional culinary training within renowned hotels and resorts across the United States.

Typically spanning a period of 12 months, this program offers an immersive and enriching experience for aspiring culinary enthusiasts. If you’re interested in applying for a hospitality placement or internship through a J-1 sponsor, here are the steps to follow:

  1. Find a J-1 Sponsor: The U.S. Department of State has appointed a group of J-1 sponsors that offer hospitality internships. HRC International is such a designated J-1 sponsor that helps international hospitality professionals get placements in the US.
  2. Find a host employer: The next step is to find a host employer that offers culinary internships. Companies like HRC International have a large network of compliant luxury hotels and restaurants to choose from.
  3. Submit the paperwork: Together with the help of the sponsor and host employer, all necessary documents will be gathered to submit the visa application.

If you meet the criteria, the sponsor will grant you a J-1 visa. This visa is specifically designed for participants in the J-1 Internship and Training Program, allowing you to come to the United States for your internship.

Tips for you

Here are more tips to help you enhance your culinary internship application through a J-1 sponsor:

1. Start early: Begin your search for internships a few months prior to your anticipated start date since the most sought-after opportunities tend to fill up quickly.

2. Be prepared: The application process for J-1 internships can be competitive. Ensure that your resume and cover letter are strong, and be ready to articulate your education, work experience, and language skills effectively during interviews or in writing.

3. Network: Tap into your professional network, including professors, classmates, and friends, to uncover potential internship leads that align with your interests and goals.

4. Be patient: Finding the perfect internship may take time, so stay patient and persistent. Don’t lose hope and keep exploring opportunities until you find the right fit.


General Eligibility Criteria

Obtaining a J-1 culinary visa can be a complex process. However, your sponsor will make things easier for you throughout your application process and your stay in the US. The eligibility requirements for a J-1 culinary internship visa include:

1. You are enrolled in a full-time post-secondary ministerially recognized academic institution in culinary arts or hotel management


You have a hospitality- or culinary degree from a post-secondary ministerially recognized academic institution and at least 1 year of recent relevant experience in the (ultra) luxury hotel industry (outside of the USA)


You have 5 years of recent relevant work experience in the (ultra) luxury hotel industry (outside the USA)

2. You are between 18-35 years old

3. You’re motivated, enthusiastic, and have a professional attitude

4. You have good English skills

5. You have a valid passport

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