Thirteen students from The Culinary School at the Food Bank of Delaware celebrated their achievements today during a graduation ceremony for the 26th class at the Food Bank’s Milford facility.
The graduates were Nyger Allah, Chanda Barnett Millhouse, Seth Bibb, Shaconda Green, Henry Harmon, Larry Kirksey, Marquise Mclean, Elizabeth Mikeals, Ryan Pellegrin, Justice Porter, Wesley Thawley, Anthony Upshur and Derrell Williams.
Delaware Veterans Home Chef Michael McDaniels served as keynote speaker for the event. “It’s a special type of person that goes into the food service industry. It takes hard work, dedication and support from their family,” he said.
The Culinary School’s Executive Chef Tim Hunter; Chef Instructor Tish Badamshin, and Workforce Training Program Manager Ruthann Messick each offered congratulatory remarks as well. All of the new graduates expressed gratitude for the opportunities they received during the 14-week program in which they developed their skills and passion for the culinary arts.
Chanda Barnett Millhouse received an award for the highest GPA in the class and was also a recipient of a Best Attitude Award. “I was unemployed when I heard of the program,” she said during graduation. “Chef Tish instilled good work ethics in us. I’ve made new friends. We’re going to leave here, and we’re going to make it.” She is now working at Chic-Fil-A in Milford.
In addition to learning proper knife handling techniques, earning ServSafe ® certification and completing a two-week paid work experience, the students leave prepared for entry-level jobs in the food industry. Partnerships with the following professionals created work experience and job opportunities: Crust & Craft (SoDel Concepts), Chick-fil-A (Milford), Atlantic Shores Rehabilitation and Health Center, Michele’s, Harrington Raceway & Casino, Dover Downs, Delaware State University, and Heritage Shores Club.
After the ceremony, graduates offered guests a lunch buffet they prepared and served from turkey and roast beef carving stations. The menu also featured fish curry and sides, including mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, sweet potato casserole, vegetables, cornbread, biscuits, and assorted desserts.
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 Delaware Department of Correction, Delaware Department of Labor, Delaware Division of Vocational Rehabilitation and other community-based organizations. The next culinary class at the Milford branch begins Monday, January 13, 2020. Applications are currently being accepted. Visit www.fbd.org/the-culinary-school to learn more or to apply online.
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