How to Take Advantage of Networking Opportunities While in Culinary School

The secret to finding a job is the people you know. Across the board, networking is the primary means by which hopeful applicants become successful employees. In fact, a recent survey shows that even while diligently applying to jobs, the chances of being hired because you know someone on the inside increases your chance of securing that job by 3:1.

At the UT Culinary & Catering Program, we understand the importance of building good relationships, and we teach our students to do that with great food and exceptional service. Our program also provides students with excellent opportunities to meet chefs and other food industry professionals inside and outside of the classroom.

While we can’t guarantee employment after graduation (because that all depends on you!), we can say that almost 100% of our graduates secure employment in the culinary field of their choice before our 12-week program ends. If you’re wondering how, the answer is simple: we introduce our students to the right people.

Work Hard in Class to Get Hired After Class

Culinary School NetworkingSince 2013, we’ve connected with hundreds of culinary educators, executive chefs, local caterers, corporate restaurant owners, hotel managers, beverage experts, and food truck operators. Many of them teach classes in our 12-week culinary certificate program as well as the cooking courses we open to the public.

Our small class sizes allow you to get to know your chef educators on a professional and personal level. They’ll share with you stories about how they got to where they are and give advice on how you can get there too. Come to class, work hard, ask a lot of questions, show improvement, and push your limits. If you shine bright, chances are your chef educator will help you find additional ways to build your resume for the culinary career of your dreams.

If you’re interested in taking advantage of the networking opportunities while you’re here, get a head start and learn the faces and names of the featured chefs you’ll meet along the way.


Get Connected When Hosting a Live Catering Event

Culinary School Networking
Photo Credit: Elizabeth Myers Photography

The UT Culinary & Catering Program will provide you with many opportunities to meet and cook alongside culinary professionals and program graduates outside of the classroom too. Through student-hosted live catering events, you’ll apply what you’ve learned in class to situations every professional chef faces on a regular basis. How you perform and handle the unexpected tells a lot about how you’ll excel in the real world, so we strongly encourage our students to practice hard beforehand and do their best every time.

What most of our students don’t know (and what we’re telling you now!) is that we often invite culinary experts to these events to observe our stars-in-training. By taking the time to explain your dish, how you cooked it, what makes it so unique, other ways to pair it, etc. and really connect with your guests, you’ll no doubt be connecting with someone who could have a positive impact on your future culinary career.

Chef Greg Tip: Always keep several copies of an updated résumé on hand as well as a knife bag so you’re ready for action at any moment. Chefs love that outlook. You never know who you’ll meet, and you don’t want to miss a good opportunity to get your foot in the door.


Be Vocal About Your Culinary Goals

Be vocal about your culinary goals and let our staff and your team members know why you’ve enrolled in a culinary certificate program. In doing so, you’ll increase your chances of finding the right path to take after graduation, whether it be a job, an internship, or additional education to further your qualifications.

According to several graduates who recently completed our 12-week program, networking is just one of the things you can do to make the most of your time while in culinary school. Read more to find out what else you should be doing.

Interested in learning more about the UT Culinary & Catering Program? Register for a free information session online or by contacting Pam Quick at quickp@utk.edu or 865-974-3181.