Chef Apprentice -Culinary Arts

The Chef Apprenticeship in Culinary Arts program:

An intensive 6-month program covering over 100 recipes and 100 techniques

While the hospitality and culinary industries are seeing strong growth in Asia, employers are facing a critical shortage of professionally trained junior cooks. The Chef Apprenticeship in Culinary Arts has thus been designed with a particular focus on young students who aspire to enter quickly the professional workforce.

This is an intensive training program, where you will learn in a short amount of time the fundamentals of culinary arts, including over 100 recipes and 100 culinary techniques. The first part of the program (3 months) is dedicated to culinary training in the kitchen lab and classroom, while the second part (3 months) will give you real-world industry experience to smooth your entry into the Food & Beverage or Hospitality sectors.

Each class begins with a short lesson from your Master Teacher, who will outline terminology, relevant food history, the reasons behind various cooking techniques, and the rationale behind following procedures in a specific order. Before you make anything for the first time, your Master Teacher will demonstrate, providing instruction and showcasing the correct techniques, before you set out to make it yourself.

The program has been thoughtfully designed to teach you the core elements of culinary arts. You will learn new skills in each class, and step by step, you will progressively build upon them. The pace accelerates as you progress through each level, and learning is cumulative and fast.

Beginning with fundamentals such as hygiene, safety and knife skills, your evolution will continue through the development of culinary techniques such as dry and moist heat cooking methods, sauce making, restaurant service simulations and pastry, for instance. Your Master Teacher will help you indentify products and train your senses, guiding you through an incredible range of tastes and flavors, from herbs and condiments to vegetables and meats.

Since the ICDE curriculum covers a vast amount of material in a short period of time, this program is intensive in nature. Set in a fast-paced environment, your Master Teacher will guide you to work quickly and efficiently from day one.  Your instructors are passionate, accomplished professionals eager to share their expertise, and you will appreciate the kind of hands-on experience, personal attention, and support that can build your confidence and skills.

Our objective is to you prepare you to meet the demands of working in a professional kitchen, with the proper techniques and work habits necessary to succeed in the industry. We aim to equip you not only with the skillsets and practical know-how that are in high demand among employers, but also with the disciplined and rigorous mindset that in the long run will allow you to climb up the ladder as a rising culinary professional.

Our ultimate goal is to give you the essential tools and building blocks from which you can ultimately improvise, explore your own creativity, and contribute to the evolution of gastronomy.


Our curriculum has been developed and structured to provide you with the culinary foundations required to launch your career as young professional. More specifically, the core culinary program is based on:

  • French traditional cuisine and the classic foundations of Auguste Escoffier’s “Guide Culinaire” (originally published in 1903, it is still widely held, a century later, as the “Bible” of French modern cooking),
  • The French Ministry of Education’s official curriculum for young professional cooks, and
  • Original recipes from ICDE Master Teachers

While the recipes you will learn are firmly rooted in the classics of French gastronomy, the techniques covered are very broad in scope, and provide the foundations of western cuisine as a whole. Upon graduation, you will be able to apply your newly acquired know-how for a broad range of employers across the culinary industry. 


Program structure:

The program is delivered over 6 months, with a very strong emphasis on hands-on practical training. Background reading materials are also regularly handed out to students, who study at home for most of the theoretical components of the course.

The course is organized into two parts. The first part (3 months – “Fundamentals of Culinary Arts”) is spent in the kitchen lab and classroom to give you the necessary theoretical and practical foundations. The second half of the program (3 months – “Industry Experience”) is dedicated to giving you vocational real-world experience in a professional environment, through a supervised restaurant externship or an ICDE-managed application restaurant open to the public.

Upon successfully passing the exams and requirements, you will be awarded the Chef Apprentice in Culinary Arts Certificate. 

Focus on hands-on practical training


Duration:  6 Months
Frequency: Full-time
Structure: Culinary Arts training  (3 months – Part I) + Practical Experience (3 months – Part II)
Part I: “Fundamentals of Culinary Arts” training (in kitchen lab/classroom)
Part II: Industry experience (supervised externship or ICDE-managed application restaurant)
Content: over 100 Techniques and 100 Recipes
Certification: Chef Apprentice in Culinary Arts Certificate (delivered by ICDE)
Teaching method: Demonstration, practical class, theory class
Language of instruction: English
Start dates: Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall

Language of instruction: English

Classes and examinations are delivered in English language. It is important, therefore, to have a reasonably good level of English in order to successfully complete the program. Some French pastry terminology is covered.


• High school diploma or equivalent
• 18 years or older


Earn a Certificate with a wide professional recognition

 ICDE is a private education provider, specializing in delivering Culinary and Pastry Arts training programs. Upon passing final exams, you will be awarded with the Chef Apprentice in Culinary Arts Certificate, delivered by ICDE.

Since ICDE is affiliated with Disciples Escoffier International, an industry network of around 25’000 Disciples Escoffier chefs around the world, this certification benefits from a wide recognition. Most importantly, in each one of our geographical locations, ICDE has been developing ties with local hospitality and restaurant groups to facilitate employment opportunities for alumni.

Chef Apprentice program Part I: “Fundamentals of Culinary Arts”

The first part of the Chef Apprentice program consists in the “Culinary Arts Fundamentals” training in the classroom and the kitchen lab. 

“Culinary Arts fundamentals” has been designed for beginners, without any pre-requisites or prior cooking experience. You will cover a vast amount of material in a short period of time, including the basic concepts, properties and applications that are the essential “toolkit” of a chef.

You will start with essentials such as professional knife-handling, safety & hygiene, then as the program moves forward, you will progress with cooking techniques that are constitute the core elements of French cuisine, such as stocks and sauces, cooking methods, or pastry doughs. Through practical sessions and demonstrations, you will begin to explore the classics of French culinary traditions, and learn to create a wide range of recipes.

Skills & techniques covered in “Fundamentals of Culinary Arts” include:

  • Introduction to the professional kitchen: Understand professional kitchen organization (Brigade system, cold and hot workstations), become familiar with professional equipment tools, learn about technical recipe sheets, order management systems, and the essential hygiene, sanitation and food safety practices used in the kitchen on a daily basis. Various food storage and preservation methods are explored (including brining, confit and dehydration).
  • Knife skills: Professional knife handling and introduction to diverse cuts for raw ingredients, for instance the various “taillage” cutting techniques for vegetables, such as potato curving, émincer (thin slice), batonnet (small sticks), brunoise (small dice) and paysanne (tile-shaped).
  • Stocks, sauces and soups: Learn the Saucier’s art, combining ingredients such as meat bones with aromatic vegetables to create various stocks (brown stocks and white stocks), and mixing stocks with binding to create Escoffier’s five mother sauces and their numerous variations (Velouté, Espangole, Hollandaise, Béchamel and Tomato). In turn, these sauces form the basis for an exploration of a full range of soups.
  • Fruit and vegetable-based side dishes: Side dishes are a fundamental element to a successful successful recipe, alongside meats or fish, allowing for a balanced and healthy dish. Learn to identify and classify a wide range of vegetables, starches, grains, herbs and spices, and become familiar with seasonal produce calendar. Prepare a vegetarian menu, and adapt the composition of side dishes to the nature of the item or piece that they will accompany.
  • Cooking methods: The use and adaptation of cooking methods plays a critical role in revealing and expressing the subtelty of ingredients (meat, fish, vegetables). The three main categories of cooking techniques are explored: “concentration” (frying, grilling, poaching in hot liquid, pot-roasting, roasting, sautéing, sous-vide, glazing, steaming), “expansion” (braising without browning, poaching in cold liquid) and “combined” (braising with browning, stewing).
  • Eggs: An unassuming ingredient, eggs are in fact a cornerstone of French cuisine and pastry. The omelet – a dish that was first recorded in France in the 17th century – represents the perfect intersection of a precise technique and a pristine ingredient. They can also be poached, used in sauces, or whipped into soufflés, for instance. You will explore various eggs cooking techniques and recipes, from eggs Cocotte to eggs Mollet Florentine.
  • Fish and shellfish: From learning about categories of freshwater, seawater fish, and shellfish, to fileting a flat fish or cooking a seabass in a sea salt crust, you will explore various cutting techniques, cooking methods and classic recipes for fish and shellfish.
  • Meat and poultry: The richness of French culinary heritage takes on its full meaning and expression with the use of ”noble ingredients” such as prime red meat cuts. From deboning a chicken to understanding beef labels, or reviewing meat colour, muscle and fat content, you will learn numerous cutting techniques, cooking methods and classic recipes for beef, pork, lamb, veal, chicken and duck.
  • Introduction to pastry: Basic pastry ingredients include various categories of flours, sugars, chemical and natural yeast, butters, eggs, fruits, chocolate and dairy. Discover classic techniques such as making choux dough and shortcrust pastry, as well as savoury creams, ice cream and fillings.

Some recipes covered in Part I “Fundamentals of Culinary Arts”:

  • Beef Consommé with vegetables brunoise
  • Velouté Dubarry
  • Eggs mollet Florentine
  • Asparagus with mousseline sauce 
  • Beef Tournedos Henry IV, béarnaise sauce
  • Poached chicken, Supreme sauce and Madras rice
  • Green crust lamb rack, pesto, tapenade and vegetables “tian”
  • Duck breast orange style, curved baby artichokes and potatoes
  • Veal loin stuffing and wrap in cabbage leave, polenta with reblochon heart.
  • Seabream filet with vegetables scales, duxelle mushrooms stuffed lettuce, “Beurre blanc”
  • Dover sole “Colbert” style, cauliflower gratin
  • Lemon Meringue tartlets
  • Raspberry charlotte cake
  • Apple tart Tatin upside down, vanilla ice cream

Next step: Part II – Industry experience

Once you have completed “Fundamentals of Culinary Arts”, you will move on to the second part of the Chef Apprentice program, consisting in gaining industry experience.

Chef Apprentice program Part II: Industry Experience

The second half of the program (3 months) will allow you to gain valuable vocational experience in a restaurant. Our apprentices are immersed in a vibrant “real-world” environment, picking up on-the-job skills they would not be able to learn otherwise in the training center.

Depending on the location of the ICDE center, you will either undertake an externship (supervised by ICDE staff) at a reputable restaurant, or will work in an ICDE-managed application restaurant open to the public. In either case, you will be cooking meals for real clients.

The French brigade is a system of kitchen organization prevalent throughout the restaurant industry. In contrast with the ICDE training center, where each student benefits from an individual workstation, cooking a meal course in a restaurant is based on teamwork and requires communication between all chefs and cooks. You will continue to sharpen your techniques, while growing your skills in organization, time management, and volume-cooking.

Who is the program aimed at?

A program open to all motivated and passionate students aiming to become culinary professionals

Are you aiming to begin a career as a cook in the Hospitality or Food & Beverage industry? Do you dream to open your own restaurant one day? If so, this program will provide you with a solid foundation.

The Chef Apprenticeship in Culinary Arts has been designed for beginners. It is aimed in particular at young students, who might have completed a high school certificate or a Bachelor program, and wish to enter the field of culinary arts. Our students have a wide diversity of backgrounds, yet they all have a common goal: learning from highly qualified instructors the skills and techniques required to become a professional cook.

Since our program is intensive in nature, an essential requirement to attend and successfully complete this program is a high degree of motivation! Are you concerned you will not be able to do it? You will not be on your own. Our classes are small, and our Master Teachers and chef assistants will be there to help you every step of the way, to provide direction and guidance as you practice.

Language of instruction: English

Classes and examinations are delivered in English language. It is important, therefore, to have a reasonably good level of English in order to successfully complete the program. Some French pastry terminology is covered.