Food Bank Culinary School Underway

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Executive Chef Tim Hunter showing new students around the commercial kitchen at the Food Bank of Delaware's Culinary School.
Executive Chef Tim Hunter showing new students around the commercial kitchen at the Food Bank of Delaware’s Culinary School.

On Monday, September 9, the Food Bank of Delaware in Milford welcomed students into its new Culinary School. Part of the newest expansion to the Milford facility, the Culinary School will provide valuable job training to unemployed, underemployed, clients with disabilities, ex-offenders and those in career transition. The 14 week program will include learning basic and high-end kitchen skills as well as Life-Empowerment Skills such as resume building, time management, financial literacy and interviewing. Students will have the opportunity to internship will local restaurants as they earn their ServSafe certification, a course essential for those working in commercial kitchens.

Walking students through the kitchen for the first time on Monday, Executive Chef Tim Hunter introduced students to the tools and equipment they will be working with over the next three months. Students will spend the first portion of each day in the classroom learning skills that are highly desirable to employers in the food industry. The program aims to find each student employment, offering job security and economic sustainability for each individual.

“I’m excited to get started with the students,” commented Executive Chef Tim Hunter. “It is all about them, I want them to succeed and find a job in the area they enjoy.”

Shane Pennell, 19-year-old from Milford, is joining the class as he prepares to enlist in the United States Army. He hopes to join the service as a cook and a mechanic and believes that the Culinary School will help him reach these goals.

“I hope to learn how to prepare dishes and what temperatures to serve food at, the basics of cooking,” commented Mr. Pennell. “I was excited when I heard about the program and enrolled immediately.” Students will be introduced to a commercial kitchen, learn culinary mathematics, basic cooking techniques, presentation and baking skills, knife handling basics and food safety.

Nighferl Matos, 19 year-old from Seaford, learned about the program from his pastor and hopes to gain some valuable experience he can take with him to The Art Institute in Philadelphia. Matos will be majoring in Restaurant and Management at the culinary school and one day hopes to own his own business.

“I hope to leave the program with a lot of experience and a part-time job,” commented Mr. Matos. “I am so excited to get started and to learn the basics so that I can bring that experience to The Art Institute.”

During the last two weeks of the course, students will have the opportunity to intern with local restaurants including Abbott’s Grill, Dover Downs, Harrington Raceway and Cool Springs Fish Bar & Restaurant. Executive Chef Tim Hunter, who has taught with the Culinary School at the Food Bank of Delaware for 5 years, states that these internships often turn into jobs for the students. Since the program’s inception in 2002, more than 260 students have graduated from the northern campus as 70% of those graduates found employment following the program.

The students will learn through trail by fire during their first week as they help prepare for the Food Bank of Delaware’s upcoming Dinner in the Orchard, which will raise awareness and funds to support the organization. Held on Thursday, September 12 in the orchard at T.S. Smith and Son in Bridgeville, students will assist Chef Hunter in preparing fresh foods straight from the farm. To learn more about the Culinary School program at the Food Bank of Delaware, individuals are encouraged to visit www.fbd.org.

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