Food Bank Celebrates Seventh Graduating Class

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Five students from The Culinary School at the Food Bank of Delaware will end 2015 with careers in the food service industry after successfully completing the 14-week training program. A graduation program was held this morning at the organization’s Milford branch. The graduates are Carlos Bowne, Bernard Harris Jr., Johnnie Harris, Frances Robinson and Antonio Wessells.

Under the instruction of Food Bank of Delaware Chef Instructor Tim Hunter, the students have spent the past 14 weeks developing their skills and passion for the culinary arts. From proper knife handling techniques to ServeSafe® certification, the students are prepared for entry-level jobs in the food industry. Hunter was pleased with this class. “No one knew each other at first, but now they have become a team,” he said.

Food Bank of Delaware President and CEO Patricia Beebe praised the students and their families.“Congratulations to these graduates. Do us proud. They are going into an industry that will be demanding of them. The food industry is growing, and this is an opportunity for these graduates to be successful in the workplace,” she said.

Guest speaker for the occasion was Chef Quinn McCord, executive chef at Dover Downs Hotel & Casino.“What you’re looking at now are the people who stuck with it. This is a hard life, but I’m a firm believer that hard work pays off,” said McCord. “There is great reward. One of the best decisions you’ve ever made is to enter this program.”

In addition to learning hands-on skills in the food bank’s industrial-sized kitchen, the students also participated in a two-week internship, paid for by the Food Bank of Delaware. Internship sites included Harrington Raceway Casino, Abbott’s Grill in Laurel and Milford Memorial.

Following the ceremony, guests were served a lunch prepared by the new graduates. The menu included soup, salad, enchiladas, beef short ribs, a variety of side dishes and three desserts, including fried ice cream, peppermint cupcakes and pineapple upside down cake.

The mission of The Culinary School is two-fold. First students are taught skills that are highly desirable to employers in the food industry and second, these newly-developed skills have the potential to lead to jobs in the industry that provide job security and economic sustainability. Students are referred to the program through the Criminal Justice Council, Delaware Department of Labor, Delaware Division of Vocational Rehabilitation and other community-based organizations. Students interested in applying for future classes, may sign up online at http://www.fbd.org/the-culinary-school/.

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