This year marks the thirteenth year that IUP culinary students have participated in the externship program at the Ocean Reef Club in Key Largo, Florida. This partnership between the IUP Academy of Culinary Arts and Ocean Reef has resulted in the placement of over 120 IUP culinary students and graduates in externship or permanent positions at the club.
Located at the northernmost tip of the Florida Keys on two thousand acres in a tropical paradise, Ocean Reef Club is the largest private club in the United States. With more than a dozen food and beverage outlets, as well as catering, banquet, and special event dining, the Ocean Reef Club provides culinarians of all levels the opportunity to participate in the creation and delivery of an exceptional range of high-end culinary services.
A huge fan of the culinary program at IUP, Philippe P. Reynaud, senior director of culinary operations at the Ocean Reef Club, travels to Punxsutawney each year with his recruitment manager, Angelina Andreoni, to recruit IUP students for externship positions.
For the externship program, Chef Philippe coordinates a schedule that sees the “students participate in a weekly culinary rotation through a variety of kitchen positions, which include experience at restaurants of varying specialties and cuisines, banquet, and catering services and special culinary events.”
The club is clearly satisfied with the IUP culinary recruits. An article in the Ocean Reef Press tells members, “You might notice a strange phenomenon at your Club restaurants as you return season after season. The faces of those preparing your meals might change drastically, but the quality and culinary expertise remains top-notch. The reason is one that you might not be aware of but that is a great source of pride for our Food & Beverage Team – a great relationship with the Indiana University of Pennsylvania’s prestigious Academy of Culinary Arts provides a great learning experience for students and a great team of passionate chefs-in-training for our Club.”
Faculty and staff at the IUP Academy of Culinary Arts are also pleased with the partnership. IUP Culinary students gain professional experience in a world-class culinary operation. “Chef Philippe’s philosophy of food and people has made him one of the most outstanding professional chefs we work with,” said Albert Wutsch, department chairperson. “He brings out the best in each and every individual he works with, and he returns our students to us enthusiastic and full of passion.”