BCC culinary program announces paid internships

Chad Frey
Butler County Times Gazette

For chefs-to-be Butler Community College has a new deal — one that includes a paid internship. 

The Butler Community College culinary program recently announced a partnership with Johnson County Community College that will allow students to seek paid internships.

An agreement between Butler and Johnson County Community College will give Butler students access to an accredited American Culinary Federation program. 

“This ACF credential is recognized by industry and demonstrates the level of culinary skill and knowledge our students will have,” said Chef Luis Peña, Butler’s lead culinary instructor. “The ability to provide a paid apprenticeship with specialized training under an ACF chef is wonderful for our students as they try to work and pay for school too. It’s the best of both worlds.”  

Butler’s culinary arts courses will be taught in the brand-new kitchen facility at Andover High School until Butler’s new culinary building is completed along Kellogg in the new Andover Marketplace area. The target date is fall 2022.  

 Butler Community College and Johnson County Community College (JCCC) leadership recently announced a new partnership that elevates the training for Butler’s Culinary Arts students and allows Johnson County to extend their culinary program’s reach.

 Johnson County Community College’s Chef Apprenticeship program was the first to be accredited by the American Culinary Federation (ACF) Educational Institute in 1979. It remains the largest in the country and is the only ACF accredited program in Kansas.  

JCCC’s partnership with Butler allows Butler’s culinary arts students the opportunity to earn the ACF credential while staying in the Wichita area. Students can enroll in JCCC practicum classes which qualify them to test for ACF Culinarian Certification and ACF Sous Chef Certification. All exams include written and cooking components. Through the practicum classes, Butler students will work in the Wichita and surrounding area as paid chef apprentices under the supervision of an experienced JCCC American Culinary Federation-qualified chef. Both community college programs result in an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree.   

The Culinarian Certificate is 2000 hours of on-the-job training plus a designation of Butler courses and Practicums I and II. The Sous Chef Certificate is 4000 hours of on-the-job training hours and includes the Culinarian Certification plus additional courses and Practicums III and IV. 

“We’re delighted to partner with Johnson County Community College for the benefit of our Culinary Arts students,” said Dr. Kim Krull, president of Butler Community College. “Two of the state’s powerhouse culinary programs are collaborating to serve the two largest metropolitan areas in Kansas. The ability to now give Butler graduates a pathway for their American Culinary Federation (ACF) certification is the perfect next step for our culinary students.” 

Johnson County Community College leadership agrees. Dr. Mickey McCloud, JCCC Vice President of Academic Affairs/Chief Academic Officer, said, “As higher education leaders work to create a stronger Kansas through collaboration, joining in this effort with Butler CC allows JCCC to share in the work of strengthening multiple communities and providing educational opportunities for students that span our great state. Sharing expertise and programming with our colleagues at Butler is something that we believe is vital for the future of higher education in Kansas.” 

The new facility is the result of a donation from  Scott Redler, co-founder and COO of the fast-casual restaurant franchise, Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers, and wife Betsy announced in April, along with Paul Jackson and Vantage Point Propertie.

“The tremendous strength of the JCCC Culinary and Hospitality program and our new facility will give the Butler students greater opportunities to enhance their education and careers,” Redler said. “It will also give them access to the vibrant Kansas City market. This is a big win for our students, for JCCC, and Butler.”