Chef Apprenticeship Program Offers Worthwhile Experience Plus a Degree!


Sarah Siock, Centurion Staff

Earn a degree and gain hands on experience with the three-year Chef Apprenticeship program at Bucks.

After completing the program, students are awarded with an associate of arts degree and a certificate of apprenticeship. In order to receive the degree apprentices are required to have 6,000 hours of on the job training. Their earned degree qualifies graduates for entry-level cooking/pastry jobs, along with a plethora of other occupations including hospitality management and commercial baking.

The third-year graduating students top off the program by wearing a medallion at commencement in the spring to show they have completed culinary school. “Chefs love medals!” joked Professor and Chef of the program, Earl Arrowood.

A current class of six third year students, taught by Arrowood, shared their personal experiences with the program. All six students have had various apprenticeships in different restaurants, ranging from country clubs and bakeries to Brazilian cuisine. The students attend class once a week while doing their full-time jobs for the apprenticeships.

Apprentice Jackie Stein admitted she was a bit hesitant to join the program at Bucks. Prior to attending Stein thought, “Am I really going to learn anything from just coming once a week?” Now, Jackie Stein is the sole third year pastry student in the program. “I’m glad I came here,” said Stein, “you learn a lot in one week.” Stein works at Nothing Bundt Cakes in Newtown. She loves that the program has allowed her to carry out her dream of creating food and giving it to people.

The students pointed out that the program at Bucks is unique because they require the apprenticeship component and many other culinary schools do not. They described apprenticeships as “real” and “humbling.”

Third year student Chantel Carter said, “The Bucks apprenticeship program saved me.” Carter previously attended culinary school at a larger university. She described that the small and intimate setting at Bucks allowed her to learn much more effectively. “It’s nice to not have to fight over pots and pans.” laughed Carter.

Carter also said, “Chef Arrowood is one of the greatest chefs I have ever worked under.” Arrowood has been at Bucks since 1982.

All six third year students’ passion for culinary arts started at a young age. One student, Zach Sumba, said he has been in the business since he was fifteen years old. Another student, Sean Myrtetus, has been involved in culinary since he was twelve. Myrtertus has always liked cooking and the program has allowed him to make a career out of it.

All students agreed that the classes move at a nice pace and it is easy to pair the classes with their schedules. The program has reasonable lab fees, unlike other schools. Chef Arrowood pointed out that the program is non-profit. No restaurant at the school that makes an income. Instead, students go to outside restaurants themselves to learn the best social skills.

There will be a ribbon cutting ceremony in February opening a new kitchen stocked with the latest technology for the chef apprentices in Founders Hall. Chef Arrowood said all are welcomed to the opening ceremony of the new kitchen.