Serve it Up - High School Culinary Initiative

The Serve it Up initiative has been developed by the Nova Scotia Tourism Human Resource Council (NSTHRC) in partnership with the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development and the Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency.  The program is designed to provide high school students with the opportunity to safely explore careers in the culinary trade. 

Nova Scotia’s tourism sector consists of five component industry groups (food and beverage, transportation, accommodation, recreation and entertainment, and travel services).  Employing over 44,000 people, tourism accounts for 11% of the province’s employment.  The largest group is food and beverage services, which engages 44.5% of all tourism employees in Nova Scotia.  The most prevalent occupations in the sector reflect the size of this industry group, with kitchen helpers and cooks accounting for 20.2% of all tourism employment in the province. 

Culinary positions are one of a few key occupations currently facing a labour shortage which will only increase over the coming years. 

The Serve it Up High School Culinary Initiative is intended to offer students a meaningful and relevant educational opportunity to explore and experience careers in the culinary trade; provide paid “hands-on” work experience under the guidance of a Red Seal Chef; facilitate the transition for students between high school and post-secondary education and provide students with an introduction to careers in the culinary trade.

The 2017 Serve it Up program will be offered to high school students in Halifax as well as in 3 rural regions of the province - Annapolis Valley, Chignecto-Central and the Strait Regional Schools.

Through high school culinary programs, such as this, the Council is working collaboratively with Industry and education to promote career opportunities within the culinary trade.

Participating students will receive 2 co-op Credits and 200 "pre-apprenticeship" hours.

Participation Criteria - 

To participate, students and employers must commit to the following:

- have previously completed one culinary co-op placement                               
- hold current Food Handlers, WHMIS, OH&S certification                                   
- commit to working July and August for summer placement                
- commit to working weekends/evenings/holidays                               

- employ a Red Seal Chef  
- provide student with 200 hours of paid employment during July/August under the guidance of Red Seal Chef
- ensure students experience front line, prep work and other typical duties

Click Here to download a PDF of the Participant Registration Form

For more information on the program please contact:

Lynn McDonagh Hughes
Operations Manager – NSTHRC/TIANS
902.496.7472 /
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“I’m only 17 and I’ve had the chance to learn from one of the top Chef’s in Halifax. An opportunity like this, at a young age, is a pretty big deal.  I am so grateful for the privilege to be part of ‘Serve it Up!’ I learned about cooking and about what it will take for me succeed in the industry. This entire experience has re-confirmed my decision to turn my passion for the culinary arts into a career.” Amanda Jamieson

“The Serve it Up program was a great experience for me, especially the fact that I was able to work in a hotel kitchen, learning about on hand experience and the necessities to become a great chef in the culinary arts.”  Jericho Rosales

"This program was extremely useful to help me develop my skills as a chef in an actual kitchen environment. Thanks to this program I am now much more confident that I well be able to fine success in this career."   Logan Hanley

“The training that took place at Cut Steak House and Shuck Seafood & Raw Bar gave all the high school apprentices an overview of a very busy environment that revolves around service and food production to the highest levels of execution. During this time all students were involved in preparation, execution and observation of a day to day fully service operational restaurant experience. The level of performance of all students was to the highest regards with the outmost professionalism from an introductory level cook.” Executive Chef Luis Clavel

“Participating in Serve it Up, for us here at the Atlantica Hotel, was an opportunity to be involved on the ground level of helping to cultivate future cooks and chefs for our industry; a way to give back as an industry partner while recognizing the importance of the education system in development and training. We look forward to building on this initial success in the coming years working together with NSTHRC and Education/Apprenticeship.” Executive Chef Daniel Orovec

“The Serve it Up program demonstrates the commitment to enhancing the profile of the culinary trade as well as ensuring that tourism businesses have access to a skilled workforce.” Scott MacAulay, NSTHRC Chairman

Hands-on learning experiences like this are a perfect way for young people to learn about different careers.  Programs like these connect employers with students to help them discover great opportunities right here in Nova Scotia."  Minister Kelly Regan