Chef Mentors

Chef Mentors Are Community Heros

Since 2012, dozens of interns have secured jobs in the culinary and hospitality industry thanks to the culinary guidance and training provided by Sprouts’ mentor chefs.  Local, talented chefs provide culinary training to each and every one of our Chef-In-Training Interns, directly in their restaurant.  By volunteering their time and resources, Sprouts’ mentor chefs are gifting sustainable careers to youth in need and investing in the future of their communities.

Hosting An Intern


A typical mentor restaurant can expect:

  • Hosting an intern for 4-6 months
  • Interns working two, 8-hour shifts per week
  • Trial-shift at your restaurant to ensure a good fit
  • Orientation to your kitchen, expectations, and rules
  • Every 8-hr shift, CIT interns receive an honorary $20 stipend
  • Sprouts-led progress check-ins with interns and chefs
  • Hosting one 2-hour youth cooking class per year as a fundraiser for the CIT program
  • Host restaurants are not required to pay interns

Application and Interview Process

We receive applicants from local high schools, community colleges, and youth employment community programs. Our applicants pass through several rounds of interviews, giving us a chance to get a sense of their attitude, dedication, and passion before carefully placing them at a host restaurant.

Pre-Internship Orientation

A discussion about the expectations of a restaurant kitchen, dress code requirements, and distribution of Food Handlers Certification Materials.

Trial Shift

Interns spend 3-4 hours on-site with their chef mentor. This shift allows the chef to assess whether the intern is a good fit for the restaurant, and ensures they can commit to the new work structure and environment.

Restaurant Mentorship

If all goes well, the intern will begin their 20-week internship, which is broken up into 2-4 shifts that total to 16 hours a week. As a mentor, we ask that you dedicate time to help your intern master kitchen basics, such as knife skills, food preparation, handling and storage. As you see improvement in your intern’s skills, they should be immersed in other culinary stations in your restaurant, hopefully getting some experience working on the line.  

Sprouts Advising

Sprouts supports each intern throughout the program, checking in with them each week. This allows us to track the interns’ progress, assist them with any challenges or personal issues. The Chef-In-Training program manager will also be in frequent contact with the mentor chef to ensure the intern is progressing and adjusting well to the program and kitchen.

Post-Apprenticeship Transition

Our goal through this program is for interns to get the job training they need to secure a position in the restaurant industry or are inspired to continue their culinary education – we would love for you to consider hiring on your apprentice if they show strong potential!

Are you interested in hosting an intern?

Host Restaurants


The Sprouts CIT Program gives back. I really didn’t have that growing up, so I wanted to make sure that once I had my own place, I could do that for someone else. It’s serious business.

-Chef Nelson German, 3x intern host, alaMar


BAY: (510) 680-3614
Sprouts Locations

San Jose
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Headquarters: 3206 Hannah Street, Unit 1, Oakland CA 94608