Tips, Guidelines, and Best Practices

James Beard Foundation Mentorship

Presented by

Program Overview

The James Beard Foundation has supported women in culinary for the last three years through its various women’s initiatives. Women are central to the hospitality industry, and they are at the center of our organization’s efforts to build back better. We are proud to partner with KitchenAid to continue supporting women in culinary, and the industry as a whole, through James Beard Foundation Mentorship presented by KitchenAid.

How to Use Mentorship Presented by KitchenAid

  1. Create an account.
    • Indicate whether you are looking for a mentor or looking to become a mentor.
    • Make sure you enter all of the information on your profile.
  2. Use the filters to identify the skills you need assistance on.
  3. Send a mentor request using the “Request this Mentor” button and be sure to include contact information.
  4. Design your own mentorship relationship!
  5. Share your experience on social media. See our toolkit below!
  6. Provide any feedback via survey.

Guidelines & Expectations

A successful mentorship relationship should have all of these key characteristics.

An intentional investment of time and energy

  • It is important for both participants to clearly define their expectations and preferred
    ways of communication (i.e. email, phone, etc.) during the first few meetings. Creating
    a shared commitment to the goals and outcomes early will help ensure a successful

A variety of perspectives, skills, and expertise where both people listen to each other’s viewpoints

Room for interpretation of advice

Mutual benefits and learning for mentors and mentees

Respect and value each other and the ways you’re alike and different

Trust and honesty where meetings and discussions are kept confidential

Initiate the mentorship relationship.

Have clearly defined goals for what you hope to get out of the relationship.

Be open to constructive feedback.

Establish a framework and boundaries for the relationship.

Be prepared with specific questions.

Seek out a variety of mentors.

Leverage your time with your mentor.

Come to meetings prepared with a plan of action and follow-up with next steps.

Be curious and open. Your mentor will present you with new perspectives and advice based on life experience, take advantage of it!

Be flexible. Renegotiate your mentorship when your personal or professional needs change.

Be in communication. It’s your role to be in proactive communication with your mentor about scheduling.

Cultivate the bond with your mentees.

Have institutional knowledge and expertise.

Identify the gaps in a mentee’s skillset.

Encourage and facilitate networking opportunities.

Commit to focused time. Be clear about your availability and avoid multi-tasking.

Set expectations and boundaries. Define the roles, expectations and goals for each of you.

Be a resource for information and skill building. Suggest appropriate skills training and opportunities for professional growth.

Be accountable and flexible. Hold your mentee accountable for their commitments to your shared goals.

Be open to renegotiating the relationship if personal or professional needs change.

Be curious and in communication. Serve as a confidant to your mentee by providing objective, appropriate and timely professional advice.

Example Meeting Road Map


Meeting One

Establish a foundation and make a plan for future communications.


Meeting Two

Share updates, ask specific questions, and check in on the goals and foundations set in meeting one.


Meeting Three

Use this meeting as an opportunity for role reversal. What can the mentor learn from the mentee?


Meeting Four

Continue to check in and adjust meeting cadence or goals as needed.

Questions for Mentees to ask Mentors

Come with agenda and several pre-pared questions

  1. What inspired you to get into this line of work?
  2. What surprised you about this line of work that you didn’t anticipate?
  3. What further education or training would be helpful for this line of work?
  4. What have you done that’s helped advance your career?
  5. What’s the most important leadership lesson you’ve learned and how has it proven invaluable?
  6. Tell me about a business setback. How did you recover?
Questions for Mentors to ask Mentees

Ask questions to understand the needs of your mentee

  1. What is your biggest challenge right now?
  2. What are you passionate about?
  3. What accomplishments are you most proud of?
  4. What does success look like for you?
  5. What are your hobbies and interests?
  6. What is your favorite part about working in the culinary/hospitality industry?

General Tips + Goals

Be patient!

It will take some time to build a relationship with your mentor, and you don’t want to rush it. The best mentorships are ones that progress naturally.

Always set clear goals and expectations.

If you aren’t able to agree on meeting times and frequency, consider reaching out to additional mentors.

Be open to more than one mentor or mentee.

No one can be all things to all people, and you may have to rely on several different people for well-rounded advice!

Be persistent but respectful!

It’s a tough time for the industry right now, and you may need to follow up with your mentor or mentee a few times before you get a response.

Share on Social

For Mentees

I’m excited to share that I’m a mentee of [@mentorhandle] in the @beardfoundation
Mentorship presented by @KitchenAidUSA program! Learn more about why mentorship is
vital to professional development in the culinary industry, and learn more at #openforgood

For Mentors

I’m excited to share that I’m a mentor of [@menteehandle] in the @beardfoundation
Mentorship presented by @KitchenAidUSA program! Learn more about why mentorship is
vital to professional development in the culinary industry, and learn more at #openforgood



If you have any questions regarding the James Beard Foundation Mentorship presented by KitchenAid, email