Culinary Training at the Food Bank Begins


Staff Report

The next class of The Culinary School at the Food Bank of Delaware in both Newark and Milford will begin on Monday, September 25, 2017. Applications are currently being accepted for interested students. The Culinary School at the Food Bank of Delaware has been in existence since 2002. Since its inception more than 565 students have graduated. The program is certified as a trade school by the Delaware Department of Education.

Under the guidance of Executive Chef Tim Hunter and Chef Instructors Tish Badamshin in Milford and Donnie Stephens in Newark, the program provides valuable job training to unemployed and underemployed adults, adults with disabilities and individuals returning to society from Delaware’s Department of Correction. The 14-week program includes 12 weeks (daytime hours) of hands-on training in basic and high-end kitchen skills, safe food handling and life skills. Students also have the opportunity to become ServSafe® certified. The 12 weeks of training culminates with a two-week paid internship at a food service company. Students not only are able to prove their skills and attain hands-on experience, but also they have a good chance of attaining full-time employment from the experience.

Upon graduation, the Food Bank of Delaware helps place students in entry-level jobs in the food industry. “We know that in order to end hunger in our state we must provide residents with job training that will lead to sustainable employment,” said Food Bank of Delaware President and CEO Patricia Beebe. “The food service industry plays an important role in Delaware’s economy, and we are proud that we are able to provide skilled workers to local businesses in the industry.”

Students interested in applying to The Culinary School must have a high school diploma or GED with a ninth grade reading and math level. The cost to attend is $5,700, however, the Food Bank of Delaware works with each candidate to identify funding sources. 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.

Anthony Leonardi, a Culinary School Milford alumni, has made successful reentry after incarceration. Leonardi is now a sous chef for Plate Catering, SoDel Concepts. He praises the education, experience and encouragement he found during his 14-week culinary training at the Food Bank. “They (The Food Bank of Delaware) gave me an opportunity, and I took it and ran with it. The restaurant business is a forgiving industry,” he said.

Students are referred to the program through the Delaware Department of Labor, Delaware Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, Department of Corrections and other community-based organizations. For more information or to apply, individuals can visit or contact Jessica Neal in New Castle County at 302-292-1305 ext 265 or or Ruthann Messick in Kent and Sussex Counties at 302-424-3301 ext 107 or

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