The Food Bank of Delaware held a graduation ceremony on Tuesday, May 24, at the Milford location. Five members of the school, David Cassey, Sarah Pearce, Jesmariely Perez, Eric Roberts and Troy Smith, celebrated their achievements in the 14-week program.
Guest speaker for the occasion was Andrew Feeley, Executive Chef of Bluecoast Seafood Grill. “That eight-inch plate is your palette. That is what you are presenting to the world. That is you,” he told graduates.
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.
“I am confident that these graduates will find much success in Delaware’s food service industry,” said Hunter. “They have the skills and attitude needed to move up the career ladder. We wish them much success.”
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 DiFebo’s, Lupo Italian Kitchen and Dover Downs.
Graduate Eric Roberts completed his two-week internship at Dover Downs. Upon completion, he was offered employment. “I’ve been cooking all my life, but I wanted to know how to do things right,” he explained. “I learned a lot of things I didn’t know how to do, and I got my ServSafe certification. This is a good program, really a great program, and I would recommend it to anybody.”
Food Bank of Delaware President and CEO Patricia Beebe praised the students and their families. “The Culinary School is incredibly important to the Food Bank of Delaware. When students ask what they can do to thank us, I tell them ‘just find a job and do well.’ The Culinary School enables us to develop adults for Delaware’s food service industry where they can make a sustainable wage to support themselves and their families. Our graduates can be very successful in this industry if they work hard. We are proud of all of today’s graduates.” she said.
Following the ceremony, guests were served a lunch prepared by the new graduates. The menu included barbeque chicken and ribs, grilled salmon, grilled corn on the cob, cornbread stuffing, collard greens and more.
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 Department of Corrections, 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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