Rome Sustainable Food Project

RSFP Internship Program

Chris Behr, Leah Galler, Jeremy Whyte, Tesfa Michele, Caspar Giri, Tom Finlayson, Clementine Hain Cole, McClane Ritzel
Making Pasta for Ravioli
Photo by David Bordow, RSFP Intern 2010-2011
Ross Phillips and Chris Behr, Chef
Photo by Davide Franceschini
Shelling Borlotti Beans
Photo by Annie Schlechter
1 of 4

The RSFP Internship Program

The RSFP is at once a production and teaching kitchen whose daily success relies strongly upon a team of interns and visiting cooks. Living and training here in Rome for a period of four months, they learn alongside an American and Italian kitchen staff to cook for the Academy community.

RSFP chefs’ teaching philosophy takes root in a practical, hands-on approach to learning. By “diving in” to the busy workday of a professional kitchen, interns learn to prepare seasonal produce with a multitude of techniques. In so doing, they gain extensive knowledge in Roman and Italian culinary practices, as well as practical experience cooking for large groups in the style of a banquet. Twice daily menu meetings are an essential part of the internship education: in them, interns receive their assignments from the chef and learn the history of a dish and its preparation from start to finish.

RSFP interns have varied experience and come from diverse backgrounds. From cooks with substantial professional experience to culinary school students and food-interested individuals with other forms of education, they are committed to practices of sustainability and the experience of life in a professional kitchen. Most interns are also interested in Italian food and culture. It is essential that interns contribute to the teamwork that makes the kitchen run, especially at times when the work is fast-paced and intense.

How the Internship Works

Interns train fifty hours per week with two full days off.

Schedules may vary week to week so that interns have the opportunity to train both morning (7 am – 4 pm) and evening (1 pm – 10 pm) shifts. Shift times, however, do vary with a given day’s work load and interns are expected to contribute as needed.

Intern responsibilities include: cooking, cleaning, composting and recycling kitchen waste, organizing inventory (to name a few). Interns become involved in practically every aspect of the working kitchen. As interns are increasingly experienced, they take full responsibility for dishes from prep to plate.

The first few weeks of the internship are a period of transition and immersion into a new environment. Interns get to know the staff and a new kitchen, as well as learn the basics of the schedule, local ingredients, kitchen systems, and the rhythm of the work day. The hope is that interns will become familiar with the ins and outs of the RFSP after finishing their first two weeks with the program.

Thereafter, they will meet with Head Chef Chris Behr for a review of their work on a regular basis. These meetings are intended as shared dialogues and provide the chefs as well as the interns with an opportunity to chart progress and define goals for the internship period. At any time, an intern can schedule a meeting with the Chef to discuss his progress or any matters of concern.

The RSFP internship position is paid with a small benefit. Room and board are provided.

The visiting cook position is unpaid. Room and board are not provided.

Culture shock is understandable and to be expected, so allowing oneself time to settle in to the Academy prior to beginning the internship is generally a good idea.

Interns are encouraged to begin learning Italian before their arrival in Rome – an open-minded attitude toward the acquisition of a new language is a must. Working in a professional kitchen is fast paced and can feel hectic and often physically and mentally challenging.

Interns are trained to work efficiently and, most importantly, to be present and conscious in all aspects of the life of a professional chef. The work schedule is rigorous and while interns are encouraged to explore Rome as much as possible in their time off, extensive travel throughout Italy and Europe is generally discouraged during the internship period itself. Many interns opt to travel before they arrive or after they depart. Allowing oneself to be fully immersed in the RSFP, in life at the Academy and in the culture of Rome at large is hugely beneficial to a positive internship experience.

Interns and visiting cooks interested in bringing spouses or partners are required to live off-site, as the Academy has limited accommodations. Please be aware that the RSFP cannot provide living stipends to cover off-site housing costs. In the past, we have found that the internship experience is significantly altered by the presence of one's spouse or partner. Some have encountered challenges in balancing the demands of work and their relationship in this particular context.

Living in Rome
The RSFP internship provides interns and visiting cooks with a unique opportunity to become well-acquainted with the city of Rome and the rhythm of Roman life. The Academy is situated on the Janiculum Hill in the Monteverde neighborhood and directly adjacent to the historic neighborhood of Trastevere.

How to Apply

There are three internship periods available every academic year. All internships are usually four months. However, it is possible to apply for an internship of up to six months.

In order to accommodate a smooth transition, interns may be asked to arrive and/or depart on alternative dates and will be advised in advance.

How to Apply for an Internship

Please apply online using the link below. The following documentation will be required:

• Letter of Introduction (your written statement describing why you would be suited for the internship)

• Resume or CV

• Passport photo

• Photocopy of Passport or Carta d’Identità

• A medical note from your primary physician that shows you are physically and psychologically able to undertake an internship in a professional kitchen abroad.

In addition, applications must include two letters of reference* from either current or past employers or teachers which may be submitted via e-mail to with the subject line “REFERENCE: [INTERN APPLICANT NAME]”

*Letters of reference that are received in advance of a completed application will be accepted. Letters of reference that are received after the deadline will not be accepted.

Internship Dates for 2017-2018

SUMMER-FALL 2017 (AAR closes in August and the kitchen re-opens in September)
Tuesday, June 27, 2017 - Friday, November 17, 2017
Application Deadline: Monday, February 27, 2017 DEADLINE EXPIRED

FALL-WINTER 2017-2018
Tuesday November 14, 2017 - Friday March 9, 2018
Application Deadline: Thursday May 31, 2017 DEADLINE EXPIRED

Tuesday March 6, 2018 - Friday June 29, 2018
Application Deadline: Monday November 6, 2017

Tuesday June 26, 2018 - Friday November 16, 2018
Deadline: Friday February 16, 2018


The Selection Process
The RSFP receives far more applications for internships than it can absorb in four internship slots and thus RSFP is simply unable to accept all qualified and enthusiastic applicants. In selecting interns, RSFP pays close attention to the group being assembled, as interns live and work together. It is RSFP priority to create a dynamic environment in the kitchen that reflects the interdisciplinary nature of the Academy itself, and therefore, each group of interns, visiting cooks, and volunteers is comprised of individuals with professional culinary experience as well as those with backgrounds in, but not limited to, food journalism, organic farming, sustainable food politics, Italian food culture and history, etc. Depending on the intern cohort, some preference may be given to applicants with significant prior cooking experience.

Applicants will receive confirmation once their application is complete and has been processed. The results of the selection will be sent after a month after the submission deadline.