Natural Gourmet Institute Develops Culinary Program to Feed New York City Restaurants

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Leading culinary institute to train cooks for entry-level positions in top New York City restaurants.

"Union Square Hospitality Group is proud and honored to partner with Natural Gourmet Institute to support their newly launched Culinary Apprentice Program,” - Angie Buonpane, Director of Human Resources, Union Square Hospitality Group

Natural Gourmet Institute (NGI), the leader in health-supportive culinary education, is announcing the launch of a 600-hour Culinary Apprentice Program developed to address the decline of skilled entry level restaurant workers in New York City. The program offers introductory culinary training to individuals who otherwise would not have access to culinary school, while also providing the restaurant industry with much-needed entry-level staff. NGI is thrilled to launch the program with the support of leading restaurants in sustainability, innovation and locality such as: Union Square Hospitality Group (which includes: Union Square Café, Gramercy Tavern, Shake Shack, The Modern and more), Telepan, The Green Table and The Cleaver Co., and Marlow & Sons. The Culinary Apprentice Program partner restaurants will get the first opportunities to hire graduating students and will be able to help shape the curriculum to produce graduates who fit their hiring needs.

"Union Square Hospitality Group is proud and honored to partner with Natural Gourmet Institute to support their newly launched Culinary Apprentice Program,” says Angie Buonpane, Director of Human Resources, Union Square Hospitality Group. "Our focus and missions are aligned in that we prepare our food with locally sourced ingredients of the highest quality and we are both dedicated to taking care of our community. We look forward to learning more about the program and to the future when we are able to hire these dedicated apprentices."

During the 600 hour program, the apprentices assist in public classes and Friday Night Dinner at Natural Gourmet Institute as well as gain experience in the stewarding department and at GrowNYC Union Square Greenmarket cooking demos. Culinary Apprentice participants are recruited from non-profit organizations with introductory-level culinary trainings, including Family Cook Productions and Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP). This training is also open to the general public, and is compensated with an entry-level wage. Applicants are required to have a high school diploma or an equivalent, as well as a strong interest in the culinary field.

By the completion of the Culinary Apprentice Program, participants are experienced in:  

  •     Checking freshness of ingredients prior to cooking
  •     Basic culinary skills and terms
  •     Following recipes accurately and preparing the mise en place
  •     Proper food handling and maintaining a prepared and sanitary work area at all times
  •     Time management in the kitchen
  •     Receiving and accepting deliveries from suppliers
  •     Organizing, labeling, storing, rotating, restocking, and managing ingredients properly
  •     Assisting in a high-volume catering kitchen with a focus on speed, accuracy, and service flow

Participants also get the chance to build their professional networks and receive job placement assistance after completing the program.

Natural Gourmet Institute, restaurant partners, nonprofit referral partners, apprentices, and the NGI community, will be celebrating the launch of this innovative program on Friday, November 7th from 6:30 to 9pm. The event will feature delicious hors d’oeuvres prepared by the culinary apprentices, followed by a three-course Friday Night Dinner, created and executed by our Chef’s Training Program students.

Please email jkauffman(at)nginyc(dot)com if you would like to attend the launch dinner.

About Natural Gourmet Institute

Founded in 1977 by Annemarie Colbin, Ph.D., Natural Gourmet Institute (NGI) is the international leader in health-supportive culinary education. Natural Gourmet Institute’s Chef’s Training Program is a comprehensive and professional program that trains students to meet the growing demand for culinary professionals who are able to make the connection between food and health. Natural Gourmet Institute also offers public intensives, hands-on instruction, demonstrations and lectures for the healthy cooking enthusiast. On Friday night, the school is transformed into an intimate dining room, where NGI’s Chef’s Training Program students and instructors prepare a three course vegetarian Friday Night Dinner that is innovative, delicious and beautifully presented.

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Jacqui Kauffman
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