Apprentices have varied backgrounds—some are fresh out of high
school and others are career switchers. In this issue, Sizzle speaks
with Bradley Crise, CSC, who graduated from the University of
Notre Dame’s 6,000-hour American Culinary Federation Education
Foundation (ACFEF) Apprenticeship Program in April.
“After my service in the U.S. Navy as a cook, I was looking for a
way to continue learning the trade, but could not afford to stop
working and go back to school full time,” says Crise, a member
of ACF South Bend Chefs and Cooks Association. “I heard
about ACF while I was in the military and, after some research,
decided that the ACFEF apprenticeship was by far my best
option for an education.”
You graduated from the apprenticeship program in
April. Where are you now?
I am working as sous chef for the University of Notre Dame at Holy
Cross House in Notre Dame, Ind.
Do you think your apprenticeship helped you get the job?
Yes. Holy Cross House was looking for a young chef with solid
culinary fundamentals, and my apprenticeship training made me
the ideal candidate for the job. My apprenticeship training is not
only part of my résumé, it’s the highlight.
Did your chapter support you during your apprenticeship?
Yes. Not only are they available to give guidance and advice, but
the chapter has set money aside to help offset the cost of classes
and other expenses associated with the apprenticeship. These
scholarships are awarded on merit and must be earned, but an
apprentice who works hard can offset a majority of the costs,
thanks to the chapter and its members.
Who were your mentors during the program?
Giuseppe Macerata and Donald Miller, CEC, CCE, AAC. Macerata
takes a personal interest in each apprentice and has a profound
ability to make you work harder than you ever thought possible.
Miller taught me the importance of paying attention to detail,
especially in terms of flavor and execution. He knew what I was
capable of, and never settled for anything less than my best.
Did you find the station rotations helpful?
The university did an excellent job planning its apprenticeship
program so apprentices work one station at a time, devoting all
their energy to learning as much as possible. The university has a
wide range of foodservice operations, so an apprentice in the soups
and stocks rotation will work at the central commissary using
industrial equipment to produce large batches of soup for the
dining halls and other operations on campus, as well as work at
the hotel’s restaurant where food is more upscale.
What was your favorite station?
My favorite station was butchering. I liked this station because
apprentices participated in slaughtering and breaking down
whole cows and hogs. Not only was it my first experience with
using power tools on food, but I gained a greater appreciation for
where food comes from. It was the first time I saw food as living as
opposed to vacuum-sealed.
Do you still have or use your logbook? Have you shown
it to prospective employers?
Yes. When I applied for my current job, I brought along my logbook
to my interview not only to explain the apprenticeship training
process, but to have something tangible for my employers to look
through and see some of the interesting activities I have done,
including winemaking and cheesemaking, charcuterie, bread
Why would you recommend the ACFEF Apprenticeship
The apprenticeship program is a good balance between work
and school. Money is something to think about, and for me,
the apprenticeship just made better financial sense. Also, my
experience with the apprenticeship program was that I had
constant attention from executive chefs across campus providing
a one-on-one learning process.
Any advice for current and potential apprentices?
Be persistent and learn as much as you can. I was told constantly
that, “You get out of it what you put in it.” New apprentices should
know that the 6,000 hours is a long time, but it flies by.