Youth Hospitality Program

We will create small but impactful programs that make a real difference in the lives of the next generation of restaurant industry professionals.


An Immersive Hospitality Internship for Young Adults

The Youth Hospitality Program (formerly Smoke & Soul) is a culinary internship program that was established in 2015 by Chef Edward Lee, and four local Smoketown interns. The goal of this program is to provide real world restaurant experience in office administration, customer service, marketing, accounting and food preparation. Students will also learn about (and be certified in) important safety and sanitation regulations and become knowledgeable in the nutrition/dietary aspect of the food. Through curriculum developed in-house, we give our interns the proper training and education to lead them into a productive hospitality career.

This mentorship is open to young adults, 18-23, new high school graduates are encouraged to apply. Students will be paid an hourly wage and all educational expenses and tools will be covered as well. Once the curriculum completed, they may be offered a position at one of Chef Edward Lee’s restaurants.

The Youth Hospitality program will include the following:

  • Nine-month paid internship– Youth Hospitality mentees will spend time working in all aspects of the restaurant from front of the house to back of the house, including management and Human Resources training by working in all three of Edward Lee’s restaurants in Louisville, Kentucky. 

  • ServSafe classes – Mentees will be required to take the ServSafe food safety training and certification which is accredited by the American National Standards Institute. It verifies that sufficient food safety knowledge is in place to protect the public form foodborne illness.

  • Media training with Wagstaff Marketing and other media professionals – Mentees will participate in a day long training with Wagstaff Marketing, a national agency dedicated to the travel and hospitality industries along with other guest speakers. Training will include interview process tips, social media etiquette, and other pertinent public relations best practices. Wagstaff will also offer continuous support to chefs throughout the program lifecycle.

  • Employment opportunities – After mentorships are completed, there may be opportunities for mentees to join the staff of the Lee Restaurant Group.

  • Pay it forwardMentees will be asked to participate in various LEE Initiative fundraisers for the next class of mentees. This is another opportunity to polish skills in front of the Kentucky area restaurant community, media and potential donors.

2020 Youth Hospitality Program Timeline:

  • March 30 – Applications due

  • April 15 – New class of Youth Hospitality mentees announced

  • April – Media Training

  • June – Internships begin. Programs will be tailored to fit the mentee’s strengths and interests within the hospitality field.

  • November – ServeSafe Training and Certification

  • February 2021 – Internships end

All candidates must fill out an application, go through a strict screening, and interview with our program director Lindsey Ofcacek.


Youth Hospitality Program: Applicants do not need any prior experience working in restaurants. This program is only available to young adults who do not own their own restaurant and have been residing in Kentucky for at least 1 year.

Applicants must:

  • Have a high school diploma or equivalent.

  • Be 18 – 23 years old, with legal status to work.

  • Complete the application form and the short-answer questions.

  • Submit all transcripts from education or experience obtained over the past five years.

  • Live within a reasonable driving distance from Louisville, KY

  • Attach two letters of reference. Additional letters are encouraged and welcomed.

  • Be available to interview in person.



Mail : Attn: Lindsey Ofcacek
610 W. Magnolia Avenue, Louisville, KY, 40208

In Person: To submit an application in person, please call 502.636.0783 to arrange a meeting.