The Trotter Project seeks to unite budding talent interested in the culinary arts, along with the hospitality and service industries, through a variety of mentorship programs designed to educate and inspire.
Opening doors and inspiring minds through the culinary arts
Pillars of Excellence Mentor Program
What is the Pillars of Excellence Mentor Program?
Charlie Trotter strove for excellence in every aspect of life. Every day at his restaurant, Chef Trotter demanded excellence in cuisine, ambiance and hospitality. When he mentored youth, he inspired the utmost excellence in their dedication and passion. When he cared for others, he showed it through excellence in his willing service.
The Pillars of Excellence program passes down Chef Trotter’s philosophy and standards to teach, nurture and motivate youth to achieve excellence not only in their careers, but in life. It is designed for students seeking a career in the culinary arts, as well as for anyone committed to learning who desires excellence in every pursuit. Programs are taught by Charlie Trotter alumni and culinary supporters, mentors who work in conjunction with educators from schools and culinary courses. Each program is based on four main pillars:
If you are interested in becoming a mentor, complete this online registration form . You can choose from one or more of the mentor level “menu” options below based on your availability and how much you would like to be involved. The Trotter Project welcomes you to schedule your programs regularly and with various schools to expand your impact on more students’ careers.
MENTOR LEVEL 1
One-on-One Mentor: Life Coach
Meet individually with a student at a time and location that is convenient for the both of you. Hear his/her story, share yours, and give advice. Opt to stay in contact with the student and provide continued support.
Guest Speaker: Career
Share a story about your career: how you entered the industry, what helped you get ahead and what skills and abilities your current position requires.
Guest Speaker with Demo
Share a story about your career, and demonstrate a skill related to one of the four pillars that has helped you achieve success. The skill you demonstrate could be related to culinary arts, restaurant management or another applicable endeavor.
Guest Instructor: Lesson
Present a lesson on a subject you know well, such as calculating food costs, applying for restaurant positions, modifying recipes for healthy eaters, etc. You will be able to work with an educator to identify a subject related to one of the four pillars, and then refine your lesson plan.
Guest Mentor: Lesson
Choose a particular cooking skill you know well for students to practice, and observe them in the kitchen to provide feedback and assistance. You will be able to work with an educator to identify the skill related to one of the four pillars, and then refine your lesson plan.
MENTOR LEVEL 2
Field Trip: Tour
Invite a class to tour your operation so students can observe business operations in person. Coordinate with the educator to schedule a time convenient for you and the class.
Field Trip with Food: Tour
End the field trip tour with a tasting!
Short-Term Class Mentor
Schedule 3-5 visits to the same class to speak, teach, observe and interact with students.
MENTOR LEVEL 3
Schedule routine visits to the same class for a full semester or school year, and develop strong connections with the students and the educator. Share what you like about your industry, your path to success and your aspirations. Teach lessons, demonstrate techniques and provide hands-on help as students learn and refine skills.
Dubbed “Awesome Tour” by students who have experienced this memorable opportunity, this option allows you to invite a class to tour your operation, give students a chance to talk with your colleagues, guide the group in a hands-on activity and treat them to a meal.
MENTOR LEVEL 4
Competition Team Mentor
Assist the educator in training the school’s culinary team or restaurant management team as they prepare for state invitational or other competitions. Familiarize yourself with competition rules, and provide guidance to students. Accompany them to the event, and cheer on their efforts. Determine your time commitment and schedule with the educator.
Work with The Trotter Project and one of its partner organizations to create a paid internship for a student. Internships can be short term (1-12 weeks) or long term (3-12 months). Setting this internship apart from a job are the regular feedback sessions with the intern and periodic check-ins with the educator. The educator will help students apply, and you will interview and select the intern. After the internship, there is no expectation of continued employment.
MENTOR LEVEL 5
Develop long-term relationships with students to guide them throughout their career, providing industry knowledge, advice and encouragement. You are expected to call, email or meet with your protégé at least once a month, and submit a monthly progress report to the intern’s educator. To be considered, you must exhibit a passion for nurturing young talent and have a proven record of professional competency and ethics. The Trotter Project will provide training sessions for coaching and will match you with students whose personalities and ambitions align with yours.
Interested in volunteer opportunities? Click here to get involved with our Pillars of Excellence Mentor Program.