ROBBINSDALE, Minn. (WCCO) — A unique opportunity this summer is paying young people to get hands-on experience in the restaurant industry.

At Travail Kitchen and Amusements in Robbinsdale, guests experience an 18-course fine dining tasting menu. Co-owner and chef Mike Brown wants some help in the kitchen.

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“Looking for people freshly graduated from high school, choosing which path they want to go,” he said.

Travail’s chefs-in-training program is an apprenticeship to give young people on-the-job experience in a high-end kitchen.

There’s no previous cooking experience required, and the pay starts at $15 per hour.

“What we mainly train is organization, focus and self-determination, and we use the tools of the kitchen to drive that forward,” Brown said. “Within this eight-month program, we have a bunch of different classes that we teach.”

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Communication and what Brown calls “soft skills” are just as prioritized as the cooking and kitchen skills.

“It’s more about taking young adults that are passionate and driven to do something and focusing on the development of that,” Brown said.

Brown says one of his chefs-in-training came in a year ago shy as a mouse, but his confidence has increased, and he’s now working at the front of house, seating and serving customers.

“These soft skills have to be learned at some point, and it’s going to push you ahead of the line in all those different categories, which opens up doors for you to do anything you want to do,” Brown said.

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Travail is holding an information session Tuesday for anyone interested in applying. Email Rachel Jacobson, Travail’s director of human resources, at Rachel@travailcollective.com to RSVP.

David Schuman