Culinary Student Spotlight: Kevin Deler

Kevin TCS Class 37When Kevin Deler was a high school student at Mt. Pleasant High School, he visited The Culinary School at the Food Bank of Delaware as part of a career exploration field trip.  His visit sparked his interest in the culinary arts. Since graduating high school in 2007, Kevin has worked in both the construction and dining services field.

After being laid off from his seasonal job in a dining hall this spring, Kevin was ready to expand his knowledge in the culinary field. He was accepted as a student at The Culinary School with full funding.

With aspirations of becoming a restaurant chef, Kevin is taking advantage of every opportunity he can through The Culinary School.

“Chef Nicole [Wilson] is a good instructor,” he says. “She has taught me a lot. A lot of terms that I needed to know out in the working world.”

Kevin and his classmates are getting an early start in a real working kitchen with their Monday internship experience. Every Monday, students spend the day in the kitchen of a local restaurant or food service provider. Kevin was lucky to land an internship at the new Westin Hotel in Wilmington.

Since starting his internship at the Wilmington Riverfront’s first and only hotel, Kevin has applied his classroom experience to a working kitchen. Techniques he learned in class, like mire poix and braising, are helping him in the Westin’s kitchen.

“At the Westin I have been prepping and working closely with Chef Chris,” Kevin explains. “He has been teaching me a lot.”

In addition to general prep work, Kevin is also assisting with banquet meals.  Once his 12 weeks of instruction at the Food Bank are complete, Kevin will intern at the Westin for a full two weeks. He and his classmates will graduate on Tuesday, September 9.

Kevin’s favorite dishes to prepare are steak and ribs and says the most valuable skills he has learned so far are knife skills and cooking techniques.

“The Culinary School has done a lot for me,” he says. “I am learning a lot. I am on the right track in terms of getting my goals together for my career. I want to become a chef, and I am taking the steps to do that.”

To learn more about The Culinary School, including information about becoming a student and supporting the program as an internship or employment site, please visit

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Lana the Iguana hits the road this summer teaching healthy eating

By Gwen Guerke, Communications Coordinator

We all know that kids learn through play, so what better way to reinforce healthy food choices than through some fun and games?

That’s where Lana comes in.

Lana the Iguana, perceived as a puppet by grownups, visits pre-schoolers in child care settings to talk about eating fruits and vegetables every day. Lana, of course, is accompanied by her own adult, one of the members of the Food Bank of Delaware’s SNAP-education team, when she goes on the road.

On Thursday morning, Lana and Laura, a Summer Nutrition Educator working out of the Milford branch, crossed a busy Airport Road to visit pre-schoolers at the Greater Milford Boys & Girls Club.

These boys and girls loved Lana and had no clue that her name was an acronym for Learning About Nutrition through Activities. They didn’t care because Lana and Miss Laura made the half-hour activity playful and interactive.

Kids learned about planting seeds, watering gardens and harvesting carrots. They talked about which vegetables they liked and which ones they didn’t care for.

The message was visual, interactive and inclusive, so that at the end of the program, each child got to take home a booklet and then had an opportunity to give Lana a hug before she left for another gig.

To schedule this program, and other age-appropriate SNAP classes, contact Leah Brown at or (302) 292-1305, ext. 210 in New Castle County or Asia Thurston at (302) 393-2013 or in Kent and Sussex Counties.

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Food Bank of Delaware and University of Delaware to host sixth annual Evening in the Garden

The Food Bank of Delaware and University of Delaware’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) will work together to raise money to alleviate hunger in the First State with their sixth annual Evening in the Garden event on Thursday, September 4 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

The evening’s menu includes garden-fresh foods straight from the university’s Garden for the Community. Students and chefs from The Culinary School at the Food Bank of Delaware will serve peppers stuffed with shrimp, grilled corn and quinoa, braised chicken with tomatoes and peppers, eggplant stuffed with Italian cheeses and more in a food station set-up. The UDairy Creamery will scoop ice cream.

The evening will also feature wine and beer tastings, live entertainment from The Ellen Lebowitz Quartet, a four-piece Jazz group with piano, drums, bass and voice and tours of the Garden of the Community.

“Our annual Evening in the Garden event is a great opportunity for us to showcase the skills of our talented students from The Culinary School,” said Food Bank of Delaware President and CEO Patricia Beebe. “Workforce development is important to us at the food bank, and this annual event gives students real-world experience working a catered fundraising event.”

Tickets for the event are $40/person or $20/student (must show student ID). The price includes dinner, wine, beer and entertainment. Attendees must RSVP by August 25. If tickets are available after the RSVP deadline, price increases by $10.

To purchase tickets, please contact Kim Turner at (302) 444-8074 or Online registration is also available at Attendees are also asked to bring a bag of canned goods for the food bank’s hunger-relief efforts.

To learn more about the Garden for the Community, please visit

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Second Annual Taste of Rehoboth

Food Bank of Delaware Chef Instructor Nicole Wilson enjoyed last year’s Taste of Rehoboth with students from The Culinary School in Newark. This year students from the Milford Branch will be in attendance to distribute gourmet food samples and interact with chefs!

By Gwen Guerke, Communications Coordinator

It’s no secret: Rehoboth Beach is a dining destination.

The 2nd Annual Taste of Rehoboth will be held from 5-8 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 21 at the Rehoboth Beach Convention Center.

Last year’s inaugural Taste was a sell-out success and raised more than $11,000 for the Food Bank of Delaware.

More than 600 ticket-holders crowded into the center to enjoy live cooking and food samples from Rehoboth’s best gourmet restaurants and chefs. Samples are paired with Dogfish Head beer and fine wines.

The event was the initiative of the Rehoboth Inspired Chefs Initiative, a group of local chefs and restaurant professionals from Rehoboth, in partnership with Milton’s Dogfish Head Brewery.

Just like last year,the evening will include live music, as well as silent and live auctions.
Needless to say, guests enjoyed the fare, the camaraderie and the opportunity to help fund The Culinary School at the Food Bank of Delaware.

The Food Bank of Delaware operates two culinary schools, one in Milford and the other in Newark, providing a training program to place graduates in the local hospitality industry.

Advance tickets are $50; $60 at the door. Tickets may be purchased at: aMuse, Eden, Espuma, Hobo’s, Rehoboth Beach Main Street and Azura.

Taste of Rehoboth will also serve as a food drive; the public is encouraged to bring canned goods to donate directly to the Food Bank

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Food For Thought, a conversation with the candidates

Just in time for the September primary, the Food Bank of Delaware will host Food for Thought, a conversation with candidates running for state legislature, on Thursday, August 21 at its Newark facility and Wednesday, September 3 at its Milford facility.

“Sponsoring this policy discussion is very important for the health and food security of all Delawareans,” said Food Bank of Delaware President and CEO Patricia Beebe. “We take very seriously the role of educating our elected officials and candidates for political office and providing an opportunity for them to process, learn and ask questions regarding hunger and nutrition issues.”

Food for Thought will offer local candidates running for the Delaware State Senate and House the opportunity to voice their stance on issues related to food insecurity, poverty and nutrition. Following brief prepared remarks by the candidates, the floor will be opened to the public for a question and answer session.

Food for Thought aims to educate the community before heading to the polls on September 9 and raises awareness of how legislation affects day-to-day service to hungry people throughout the state and how community members can change the shape of legislation through their political involvement.

When: Thursday, August 21, 2014; 8:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. (Newark)/Wednesday, September 3, 2014; 8:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. (Milford)

Where: Food Bank of Delaware, 14 Garfield Way, Newark  & 1040 Mattlind Way, Milford


8:00 a.m. – 8:30 a.m. – Breakfast and networking

8:30 a.m. – 9:10 a.m. – Welcome and remarks from candidates

9:10 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. – Audience Q&A

Confirmed candidates (Newark event):

  • Jeff Porter (Candidate, State House 12)
  • Paul Baumbach (Incumbent, State House 23)
  • Matt Lenzini (Candidate, State House 15)
  • Steven Newton (Candidate, State House 22)
  • Bryan Townsend (Incumbent, State Senate 11)
  • Lynne Newlin (Candidate, State House 11)
  • John Mackenzie (Candidate, State House 22)
  • Bethany Hall-Long (Incumbent, State Senate 10)
  • James Burton (Candidate, State House 15)

Confirmed candidates (Milford event):

  • Pat Emory (Candidate, State Senate 18 – Primary)
  • Claire Snyder-Hall (Candidate, State Senate 6)
  • Dave Wilson (Incumbent, State House 35)
  • Gary Wolfe (Candidate, State Senate 18 – Primary)
  • Paulette Rappa (Candidate, State House 37)
  • Ruth Briggs King (Incumbent, State House 37)
  • Kevin Robbins (Candidate, State House 33)
  • Ron Gray (Incumbent, State House 38)
  • Pete Kramer (Candidate, State House 29)

To attend Food for Thought, please register by contacting Ashley Michini, Food Bank of Delaware Policy & Advocacy Coordinator, at (302) 292-1305 ext. 206 or Space is limited. Complementary continental breakfast will be provided.


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End of Summer Blog

by Kevin Crean, Communications Intern

Interning at the Food Bank of Delaware has been one of the more unique experiences in my life. The definition of the “Communications Intern” is a broader job description than I originally thought, but it turned out to make this summer interesting and eye-opening in the best way possible. Between the blogs I wrote, the places I visited, and the people I met, I’ve learned about so many different things this summer that I never even knew existed.

Going into my first day at the Food Bank of Delaware, I was only expecting to learn about the different aspects of the Communications field. My boss, Kim Turner, did an awesome job showing me all the different aspects of marketing, promotion and communications. Between learning how to work with Adobe programs like InDesign, Illustrator and Photoshop, and writing multiple different blogs of my own throughout the summer, I have picked up computer and writing skills that I not only wanted to learn, but needed to learn. While all of these skills were awesome to learn, I think the coolest part about my job were the field trips we went on throughout Delaware.

My more valuable experiences as the Communication Intern came from our trips to different sites. Kim and I traveled almost every week, and we went to different places to view our distribution sites, Grab and Go programs, and even to the other branch of the Food Bank. Between going to Wilmington, other places in Newark, and travelling downstate, my experiences enlightened me thoroughly on how present hunger is not only in the state of Delaware, but throughout our country.

My experience here at the Food Bank was not only important in learning skills for my career path in the future, but also contained the priceless experiences I wouldn’t have been a part of anywhere else. I would like to say thank you to the Food Bank of Delaware for this opportunity, and for not only equipping me with the tools to move forward in my career, but for also making this internship a once in a lifetime experience!


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Food Bank of Delaware celebrates third Milford culinary class graduation

Eight members of The Culinary School at the Food Bank of Delaware celebrated their achievements today during a graduation ceremony for the third class at the organization’s Milford Branch.

Matt Haley, founder and president of SoDel Concepts, and a restaurateur whose successes include Fish On!, Papa Grande, Lupo di Mare, Bluecoast, Matt’s Fish Camp, Northeast Seafood Kitchen and Catch 54, all located in Delaware resort communities. Haley is also the recipient of the prestigious 2014 James Beard Humanitarian Award.

“Matt Haley Companies believes in the Food Bank of Delaware. We support the food bank and are connected with their grass roots, community-minded efforts throughout the state. We had substantial success with the graduates who have come through the program and are happy to announce the placement of them throughout Matt Haley Companies,” he said.

“We support and commend the staff on their striving for excellence throughout the community.”

Under the instruction of Food Bank of Delaware Chef Instructor Tim Hunter and the guidance of Brenda Palomo, Culinary School Program Manager, the students spent the past 14 weeks developing their skills and passion for the culinary arts. From proper knife handling techniques to Serve Safe certification and completing a two-week internship, the students are prepared for entry-level jobs in the food industry.

Five of the eight graduates have already obtained employment. Some employers include Catch 54, Jimmy’s Grille, Verde Italian School and the Duncan Center.

“I would encourage this class to stay focused on their goals,” said Milford Branch Director Chad Robinson. “Having Chef Tim and the food bank as a resource is of great advantage in finding their place in the industry and as long as they can remain focused and always look for ways to improve themselves we are always here to support that.”

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.

Congratulations to the graduates:

Curtis Bailey
Carla Franco
Joseph Fulmer
Sierra Hughes
Antonio Kokkinos
Caytlin Montgomery
Sean Shaver
Katoria Showell

To learn more about The Culinary School, please visit

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