strengthening career opportunities

strengthening career opportunities

Internships - A First Step in Career Success
JWU Focus 2011 Kinsley Fuller with Ron Zimmerman

Texas native Kingsley Fuller ’09 was a culinary nutrition major at the Denver Campus, and interested in an internship at a farm-to-table, fine dining property. She researched several with her on-campus internship coordinator, after which she knew, “The Herbfarm was the experience I wanted.”

The Herbfarm in Woodinville, Wash., is a AAA, five-diamond property recognized by the James Beard Foundation, Travel & Leisure, Wine Spectator, Zagat Survey and other prestigious industry sources. Owner Ron Zimmerman has welcomed past JWU interns, and hired Chris Weber ’00 as sous chef. For Fuller, this internship was significant. The stakes are high and she acknowledges it required patience and an eagerness to learn. “The experience is unique, and the people you work with and learn from will impact the rest of your culinary career.”

The Herbfarm interns hone kitchen skills, but Zimmerman and the chefs expose them to the finest local dairies, wineries and other farms so interns experience and learn about food sources as well. “The internship is what you make of it,” says Fuller. “If you express a particular area of interest, chances are [the chef in charge] will make sure you learn what you would like to. Every position is valuable, and every person has something to teach you.” Beyond this, she’s learned the importance of quality and consistency, and witnessed firsthand the advantages of creating “from a farm down the road and an herb garden across the street.”

She reflects on her overall JWU experience, and highlights her time on the culinary team for the American Culinary Federation and Intercollegiate Culinary Competition and her instructors as “great resources, particularly Chef Bernard Schrag.” Aside from a great sense of humor and knowledge of classical cuisine, “he doesn’t settle for anything but the best,” says Fuller.

Weber remains connected to his alma mater and shares his talent and time with the next generation of JWU students when they intern at The Herbfarm. “Chris is amazing. I couldn’t have asked for a better sous chef,” Fuller says of her work with him. “He’s like a human encyclopedia when it comes to food.”

She offers advice to other young graduates. “Give people a reason to hire you … Be professional. The first impression is the cover letter and résumé. Be optimistic, realize that everyone is busy. If you don’t get accepted it doesn’t mean the restaurant doesn’t want you. You are not the only variable in the equation.”

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Image above: Kingsley Fuller ’09 poses with Ron Zimmerman, owner of the five-diamond property, The Herbfarm, in Woodinville, Wash., where Fuller completed an internship. Zimmerman has welcomed other JWU interns and hired Chris Weber ’00 as a sous chef.