Category Archives: Milford Expansion

Food Bank of Delaware celebrates second Milford culinary class graduation

GraduatesSix members of The Culinary School at the Food Bank of Delaware celebrated their achievements today during a graduation ceremony for the second class at the Food Bank’s Milford facility.

Guest speaker for the occasion was Chef Jay Caputo, owner of The Jay Caputo Restaurant Group in the Delaware resort region. His restaurants include Espuma in Rehoboth Beach and Rose & Crown in Lewes.

“I’m proud to be associated with the food bank and the culinary program headed by Chef Tim and Brenda,” said Caputo. “To know that the students are getting a chance to better their lives through donations, grants, and the support of our community just reiterates the family connection we have here in Delaware.”

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 prepared for entry-level jobs in the food industry.

Chef Hunter was pleased with this class.

“Though this was a small class, each one of the students has a lot of potential. Some of them may need longer than others to embrace their potential, but it’s definitely there. Hopefully they will realize it sooner rather than later, because they have a lot to offer,” he said.

Food Bank President and CEO Patricia Beebe praised the students and their families. “The successful graduates you see at today’s ceremony are supported by a community,” she said. “They put in the work, but they are encouraged by our staff and members of the food service industry, like Chef Caputo. I have no doubt they will continue to work hard and build upon what they’ve learned here at The Culinary School.”

Michael Cook, the class’s honor graduate, was pleased with this educational opportunity.

“The Food Bank of Delaware Culinary School at Milford has been a real blessing to me. I’ve learned a lot of new techniques, how to use the latest equipment, and gained knowledge of important culinary cornerstones. Just as important to me, is that I’ve gained a lot of confidence here at school. Chef Tim and Brenda Palomo work very hard at instilling a positive ethos in all the students and I really appreciated that.”

In addition to learning hands-on skills in the food bank’s industrial-sized kitchen, the students took field trips to food processing plants and urban food markets.

Graduate Phillip Kizer enjoyed having Chef Hari Cameron, owner of a(MUSE.) in Rehoboth Beach as his mentor. Phillip spent time with Hari at his restaurant learning as much as possible about the restaurant industry. The two look forward to continuing their mentorship.

Following today’s ceremony, guests were served a lunch prepared by the new graduates. The menu featured roast leg of lamb with fresh rosemary, meatballs green beans and red-skinned potatoes, roasted vegetables, Greek salad with feta cheese, fresh cannolis and other 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 Criminal Justice Council, Delaware Department of Labor, Delaware Division of Vocational Rehabilitation and other community-based organizations.

The graduates are: Paula Walston, Uriah Parker, Phillip Kizer, Michael Cook, Kelley McCallum and Ellen Roland.

Special Honors:
Culinary Exellence: Michael Cook and Phillip Kizer
Academic Excellence: Michael Cook and Phillip Kizer
Most-Improved: Ellen Roland
Leadership Award: Ellen Roland

 

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Culinary School Spotlight: Mike Cook

021314_TCS_Mike photoBy Gwen Guerke, Communications Coordinator

Someone with a sense of humor might say that calling someone Chef Cook is, well, redundant.

In the near future, Mike Cook, a student at our Culinary School at the Milford Branch, will probably have to deal with the punsters.

Mike, a Seaford resident and a Washington, D.C. native, will graduate with his class next month, and is looking forward to a career in the culinary world.

The Culinary School program lasts a total of 14 weeks, 12 of which are spent on site at the Food Bank learning the basics, including but not limited to meat fabrication, cooking techniques, and soups and sauces, and studying for the ServSafe exam, as well as brushing up on a Life Skills curriculum.

This man is no stranger to the business. Most recently, Mike was  a stay-at-home dad for his three sons, ranging in age from 4-13 years, but he also comes to school with extensive experience in the culinary business.

He worked the morning shift at Capt.’n  Pete’s Mediterranean Cove in Fenwick Island.

“I opened the restaurant, took in the shipments, made the sauce, portioned the fish and meats,” he said.

“I know how to frame a house, but this is what I want to do. I can’t see doing anything else,” Mike added.

At home, he also enjoys cooking for his family, including his wife, a family practice physician.

Their favorites are Italian and Greek dishes, a reflection of his family heritage, and include grilled octopus.

Mike said he’s enjoying the learning opportunities he’s experienced through The Culinary School.

“It’s more than I ever imagined, more than I had hoped for. Chef Tim’s excellent, and the camaraderie is great,” he said.

Chef Tim, Milford’s chef instructor, praised Mike as well.

“He’s been great. He had a lot of knowledge when he came. We’re just sharpening his skills,” the chef said.

During the last two weeks the students have the opportunity to take part in a paid internship at a restaurant, casino, hotel, or other business in the culinary industry. They 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.

After graduation, Mike said he would like to work at Matt Haley’s Lupo di Mare Cucina Italiano in Rehoboth Beach.

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The Culinary School at the Milford Branch accepting applications

Greg TCS

Greg Jones addresses attendees at the first-ever graduating class at the Milford Branch.

The third class of the new Culinary School at the Food Bank of Delaware’s Milford Branch will begin on Monday, April 28. Applications are currently being accepted for interested students and are due by Monday, March 17.

The Culinary School at the Milford Branch of the Food Bank of Delaware replicates the program that has been in existence at the Newark facility since 2002.

Under the guidance of Chef Instructor Tim Hunter, the program provides valuable job training to unemployed and under-employed individuals in Kent and Sussex counties.

Greg Jones, a graduate of Milford’s inaugural class, is now employed as a full-time line cook with Aramark at Delaware State University. He praised the program.

“It changed my life because it opened my eyes to my abilities and gave me the chance to believe in myself. It was a great experience working with Ms. Brenda and Chef Tim,” he said.

The 14-week program includes 12 weeks (day-time 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. Upon graduation, the Food Bank of Delaware helps place students in entry-level jobs in the food industry.

“The response from the community for this new program has been astounding,” said Food Bank of Delaware Milford Branch Director Chad Robinson. “We know that in order to end hunger in our state we must provide residents with job training that will lead to sustainable employment. 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.

Students are referred to the program through the Criminal Justice Council, Delaware Department of Labor, Delaware Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, Department of Veterans Affairs and other community-based organizations.

For more information or to apply, please contact Brenda Palomo, Culinary School Program Manager, at (302) 424-3301 ext 107 or bpalomo@fbd.org.

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Food Bank of Delaware celebrates first Milford culinary class graduation

TCSgroupEleven members of The Culinary School at the Food Bank of Delaware celebrated their achievements today during a graduation ceremony for the inaugural class at the Food Bank’s newly-expanded Milford facility.

Guest speaker, Dr. Christine Cannon, executive director, Arsht-Cannon Foundation, praised the program and urged students to “remember how it is that it feels today. . . . Consider other educational opportunities. The sky’s the limit. Love what you do, and remember to give back to others.”

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.

The fact that the graduation ceremony coincided with the holiday season was not lost on Food Bank of Delaware President and CEO Patricia Beebe. “This is one great present. It doesn’t get any better than this,” she said.

“The first class of this culinary school represents long labor. Sometimes it is a test. This is the end of a long test, a successful test. We need to continue to raise funds to support this program.”

Charles Ballard, who was recognized with the class Leadership and Perfect Attendance awards, thanked God, his family and the food bank for encouraging. A former truck driver who recognized his love of cooking, he told the audience “it is never too late for a career change.”

In addition to learning hands-on skills in the food bank’s industrial-sized kitchen, the students took field trips to food processing plants and urban food markets, these students also worked in preparing and serving at Dinner in the Orchard and for a Trustees of Color reception.

This kitchen opened in September, coinciding with the start of this class.

Following today’s ceremony, guests were served a lunch prepared by the new graduates. The students featured a menu of roasted red pepper hummus, seafood gumbo, roma tomato bruschetta, sweet potato salad with cranberries and pecans, pork or chicken tamales, orange roughie and spaghetti squash, New York strip steak with roasted brussel sprouts and apples, mac and cheese bites, macaroons, truffles, chocolate cupcakes and banana 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.

The graduates are: Charles Ballard, Courtney Ballard, Leighanne Franks, Lilly Frazier, Michelle Ruby Hernandez, Gregory Jones, Nery Matos, Nighferl Matos, James Merrell, Maria Montoya and Shane Pennell.

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Culinary Student Spotlight: Charles Ballard

11-21 Charles BallardBy Gwen Guerke, Communications Coordinator

In retrospect, Charles Ballard believes that he may have had a lifelong passion for preparing food, but he just didn’t recognize it until fairly recently.

Ballard, 51, signed up for the inaugural class at the Food Bank of Delaware’s Culinary School  in Milford which started in September. The Dover resident, now more than half-way through the 14-week training session, was most recently a truck driver looking for a career change.

A notice in the Dover Post newspaper about The Culinary School training prompted him to investigate the opportunity.

“My parents owned a restaurant in Wilmington, barbecue and seafood. I didn’t want to get into it because it felt like something I had to do, and I was rebellious,” he said.

Ballard says he loves to cook at home.

“I’m pretty multi-cultural, from stir fry to Hispanic, Jamaican and Italian. Normally anything I make, people like,” he added.

So the ad prompted him to rethink his position on cooking, and Ballard applied and was accepted into the school.

It’s been a learning experience.

“I had no idea how structured cooking is, home much time goes into the preparation, and how easy it is to contaminate food,” he said.

In addition to food preparation and classroom instruction, Ballard is enjoying his classmates.

“Chef (Chef Instructor Tim Hunter) told us the people you work with are like your family, and that’s true. We bicker, and then we make up. It kind of tugs at my heartstrings a bit to think that will be going our separate ways,” he said.

Hunter praised Ballard’s performance at The Culinary School.

“He is definitely a leader in class. He takes initiative, and that’s what you like to see. He is the first in the class to jump in and do something. And he has a passion for food. He is the person you want in the kitchen. All he wants to do is learn,” he said.

On Dec. 2, Ballard started his two-week internship at the award-winning Cool Springs Fish Bar & Restaurant in Rising Sun, near Dover.

He praised the program that will launch him on a new career path.

“This is another aspect of the Food Bank I didn’t know about,” he said.

The first class of The Culinary School at the Milford Branch will graduate on Tuesday, December 17 at 11:00 a.m. To attend the graduation, please RSVP to Brenda Palomo, Culinary School Program Manager, at (302) 424-3301 ext 107 or bpalomo@fbd.org.

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Food Bank of Delaware accepting applications for Culinary School at Milford Branch

TCS October 2013 MilfordThe second class of the new Culinary School at the Food Bank of Delaware’s Milford Branch will begin on Monday, Jan. 6, 2014. Applications are being accepted until Dec. 19 for interested students.

The Culinary School at the Milford Branch of the Food Bank of Delaware replicates the program that has been in existence at the Newark facility since 2002. Under the guidance of Chef Instructor Tim Hunter, the program provides valuable job training to unemployed and underemployed individuals in Kent and Sussex counties.

Shane Pennell, Milford, a student in the Milford branch’s inaugural class, found a part-time job in the culinary industry early in the training period, and says he enjoys the educational experience The Culinary School provides.

“I don’t miss a day. I’m learning a lot, and I like coming here,” he said.

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. Upon graduation, the Food Bank of Delaware helps place students in entry-level jobs in the food industry.

“We are excited to provide valuable food service training to local residents,” said Food Bank of Delaware Milford Branch Director Chad Robinson. “We know that in order to end hunger in our state we must provide residents with job training that will lead to sustainable employment. The food service industry plays an important role in Delaware’s economy, and we are proud that will be 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.

Students are referred to the program through the Criminal Justice Council, Delaware Department of Labor, Delaware Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, Department of Veterans Affairs and other community-based organizations.

For more information or to apply, please contact Brenda Palomo, Culinary Arts Program Manager, at (302) 424-3301 ext 107 or bpalomo@fbd.org.

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Culinary Student Spotlight: Maria Montoya

By Brenda Palomo, Culinary School Program Manager

Every Thanksgiving is a chance for the American people to reflect upon their lives and actively express gratitude. Some days this task is harder than others, considering the news of natural disasters abroad, political discord at home, and in the business of hunger, so much poverty. But somehow, this time of year we are able to come together with our loved ones and be grateful – despite our personal trials and tribulations, notwithstanding the state of the government, and regardless of the negative headlines; heroes in our own tragic stories.

Maria Milford TCS 2 But there’s something to be said for being thankful not only around Thanksgiving, and in spite of hardships, but because of them, all the time, without self-proclaimed martyrdom.

“To complain at all is an embarrassment! It’s so embarrassing when you see other situations. You have to be thankful for every day and thank God, not just for life, not just for your food, but for all the bad things too! Or how else do we learn and grow,” says Maria Montoya, a student at The Culinary School at our Milford Branch. Her tone is dutiful and stern, and so is her attitude in everything she does.

When she applied to begin classes in September at our brand-new Culinary School, this passion of hers was what was immediately apparent. As Chef Tim and I walked her through the shiny new industrial kitchen, something besides the reflection of the stainless steel shone in her eyes. And though she nodded often in response to our commentary, she seemed genuinely speechless; she uttered not one word, and she held her hands clenched, occasionally and urgently rubbing with her thumbs. Soon thereafter, I found out exactly how extraordinary it was for Maria to be speechless, as she became more comfortable and descended on a mission to explain how she dreamt of being able to become a chef and what it would mean to her to attend The Culinary School. Maria’s words tend to have an essence all their own which demands the type of attention you don’t just hear, but you feel. That day, we decided to award her one of the scholarships we had available to prospective students.

Since that day, Maria Milford TCSMaria’s gratitude has shone through every one of her tasks in school.  She works with a fervor and determination unlike any other I have seen, eager to squeeze the most out of an opportunity that she clearly considers a Godsend. The more she very kindly shared with me about her life, the more apparent it became that she considered every step in the journey of her life a blessing. And it has been a long journey for her.

It began, as many great journeys do, in a very small town; the town of Rio Bravo, in the state of Tamaulipas, Mexico, bordering Texas to the North and the gulf of Mexico to the East. “The ham of the sandwich,” as Maria describes herself as the middle of seven children born into a humble family. They lived in a home made up of two rooms: The kitchen and a communal room where the family slept and generally lived under a roof made of aluminum sheeting. Maria’s father never attended school, but he instilled in his children a drive to learn as much as they could, telling them how he would ask to borrow his friends’ notebooks as they came out of school to admire symbols he would later practice on the dirt. Eager to make her father proud, Maria still retains her report card from elementary school documenting a near perfect record.

Similarly, Maria to this day honors every piece of advice her mother gave her. Any time I have vocalized my admiration for her efforts in the kitchen, whether it be her delicious cooking or her meticulous cleaning, Maria’s response tends to be prefaced with “My mother always told me….” Maria’s mother seemed to have had a strategy for everything from how to properly hold the broom so that its angle is most effective to how to season the perfect Mexican enchiladas, and it is evident in everything Maria does. She already has a reputation for making some of the best tamales in the area, and her fellow classmates always appreciated the days when she was responsible for preparing lunch. In the classroom, Maria is extremely organized and engrossed in every lesson, paying close attention to make sure nothing gets lost in translation. She has shown me the notes she takes, in which she has translated to Spanish every passage to make sure her comprehension is perfect. At quiz and test times, Maria is extremely focused, for if she misses one or two questions, she becomes very frustrated.

“I stayed up past 1o’clock translating the book, Brenda, because I needed to make sure I took care of my family before I could study. But I studied everything and I cannot believe I still got one wrong. My mind just isn’t what it used to be,” She confessed to me one day as I approached her desk with curiosity.

But it wasn’t exactly Maria’s frustration that drew me to her desk that morning. It was a tiny little stub of a pencil, no more than about an inch long between the eraser and the base of its point. I wondered if all of the school supplies I provided her with at the beginning of class had been lost; they couldn’t possibly have been used up by now. Before I could ask her anything, she shared with me something amazing.

As she spoke about her frustration with having missed a single quiz question, she reminisced on how as a little girl she had always strived to be at the top of her class despite the many setbacks her family faced. She remembered, “The teachers would always be asking for materials for class, and I would complain to my father because he wouldn’t buy it, but they simply didn’t have the money. We would use our pencils until they were smaller than this one right here, and I would try to borrow my friends’ materials, like a protractor which was very expensive, but it was very embarrassing.”

Maria dropped out of elementary school at age 12 so that she could begin working and helping her family. She reasoned that she would rather drop out than for her older sister to do so, since she was so close to finishing, and this way she could help provide her and her younger siblings with the school supplies they were lacking. Their eldest sister had already attained a relatively lucrative job at a tortilla shop on the other side of the Rio Grande, and Maria decided she would join her. So one day, instead of going to school, Maria headed towards the border, and paid a lady to send her across the river in an old tire.

Maria saved every penny she earned for her family. She bought her mother her first refrigerator, her first real dining room table and living room set, and installed a sink in their little house. Eventually, she and her sister managed to rebuild the little house and add a couple more rooms. “My mother was always telling me that I shouldn’t buy her so many things because it was in bad taste. But I wasn’t trying to be boastful, I was driven by the love I have for my family, and the desire for them to live better.”

Maria spent three or four years working with her sister in Texas, sneaking back and forth across the border by paying someone to carry them in the trunk of their car only a couple of times a year to visit the family. When she went back to Mexico she was old enough to attend adult night school and work at a local manufacturing plant during the day. Her dream was to save enough money to build a little room in the house where she could hold a salon and seamstress business, since she had quite a talent for both trades. That all changed when her sister died from cancer, and left behind 3 children under the age of 5. Maria took responsibility for her nieces and nephew, and to this day she calls them her children. But in order to take care of all their financial needs, Maria was forced to return to the United States to work as a housemaid, office cleaner, and babysitter. After some years she landed a job in a Delaware chicken plant, where she met her husband. Here, they built a life together and raised four children, now ages 10, 14, 17, and 19. Maria’s eldest son became state champion in wrestling, her eldest daughter is currently completing her senior year of high school and recently received an achievement award for having been on the honor roll her entire school career. The younger two are well on their way to following their siblings’ footsteps.

A few years back, after Maria was detained by immigration on a trip to visit her sick father in Mexico, Maria and her family’s accomplishments and clean record in the US compelled a judge to award her residency.

She begins her internship at one of Matt Haley’s newest ventures, Papa Grande’s this coming Monday. It is Maria’s first opportunity to work full-time since she became pregnant with her first child. Her work ethic in the classroom, the kitchen, and quite apparently throughout her life, is a perfect match with the principles of SoDel Concepts, and I have no doubt she will thrive in a busy kitchen environment.

“I can’t help but think that this opportunity came to me as if by some blessing. I never feel like I deserve such good things to happen to me. I felt like that when I met my husband, who is the most wonderful man I know, I felt like that when he bought me my house, I felt like that when I had my first child at 30 even though the doctor had said I could never have children, and I felt like that when I was able to come to this school. I have lived many things and I am eternally grateful for everything in my life. I never complained, I was always thankful and then I just tried harder if things were difficult, but I never dreamt that I would have the opportunities that I have now. I will always be grateful for this school, and I will feel indebted to everyone that made it possible for me.”

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Culinary Spotlight: Shane Pennell

shane01By Gwen Guerke, Communications Coordinator

Just nine weeks into classes at our Culinary School at the Milford Branch, Shane Pennell has a part-time job in a local restaurant. And it’s a job that is not only challenging; it also offers rewards beyond a paycheck.

Shane, 19, says he always liked to cook, and when his mother, a member of our staff, told him about the opportunity, he signed up for the first 14-week program offered at our Milford site.

For this Milford-area resident, the decision was a positive one. “I like coming here, and I haven’t missed a day. I’m learning a lot,” Shane said.

Chef Tim Hunter, The Culinary School’s Chef Instructor, praises Shane’s commitment. “He’s dedicated. That’s why I put him in the kitchen right away. He’s willing to work, and I want him to be working,” he said.

His enthusiasm landed him a part-time job at Betty Lou’s, a restaurant on Rehoboth Boulevard in Milford where breakfast, lunch and dinner are served six days a week, and a Sunday brunch is offered.

Betty Lou, the restaurant’s namesake and owner, says the relationship is a win-win. “It’s working. It’s a great idea. Shane is eager to learn what I have to teach him,” she said.

Needless to say, working as a professional in the culinary world is different than cooking at home, but that is a challenge which Shane embraced.

“I jumped right again by myself,” he said, and by doing so, he feels successful.

Brenda Palomo, program manager for The Culinary School, is proud of Shane’s progress. “He’s one of youngest students, but he’s a natural leader. He really showed an interest and wanted to be more involved. We’re pretty proud of him,” she said.

Shane relates a story of how he prepared a special order for a customer who was pleased with Shane’s béchamel sauce and al dente pasta for what could have been ordinary chicken parmesan.

“It’s different. Cooking at home, you have a lot of time. In a restaurant, you have to have everything out on timing. It’s pressure and organization, and presentation plays a big key too,” Shane said.

So far, Shane says he enjoys nearly every aspect of The Culinary School’s curriculum. “I don’t have a favorite dish. I just like learning, but I don’t like to bake,” he said.

As for the future, Shane is looking forward to a career in the U.S. Army where he can use his culinary experience.

“But I don’t see myself opening up a restaurant,” he said.

No matter where his journey leads him, Shane will still have mastered useful and marketable skills.

“It’s a great opportunity,” said Betty Lou. “After all, everybody’s got to eat.”

To learn more about opportunities at The Culinary School at the Milford Branch, contact Brenda at (302) 292-1305 ext 107 or bpalomo@fbd.org.

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Mother, son share classes and experience at Food Bank’s Culinary School in Milford

By Gwen Guerke, Communications Coordinator

Among the 14 students in the Food Bank of Delaware’s Culinary School in Milford’s inaugural class are two students with very close connections: Nighferl Matos and Nery Matos hold the distinctive of honor of being son and mother.Image

Although the Seaford residents came to The Culinary School with separate goals in mind, both are equally enthusiastic about the experiences they shared during the first couple weeks of the 14-week training program.

Nery, interviewed through Brenda Palomo, program manager, as translator, previously worked at the Vlasic plant in Millsboro until it closed.

“I entered the program because I was interested in learning about the kitchen,” she said, noting that she believes The Culinary School will help her become more proficient in speaking and writing English.

Nighferl, a 2012 Seaford High School graduate, plans to further his education in the culinary field by going on study culinary arts in Philadelphia.

“I thought I would give this a try. It will help me be more confident when I go on to earn my bachelors degree. It’s a head start for my career,” he said.

These students quickly learned The Culinary School offers almost immediate hands-on experience as they prepared and served food for the Food Bank of Delaware’s Dinner in the Orchard and lunch at the grand opening ceremony for the Milford Branch expansion.

“It was a great privilege to be there,” Nighferl said.

His mother agreed.

“It was awesome and exciting, and I loved being able to share with people,” said Nery.

Brenda said the Matoses are “the first family team at both culinary schools, and they are recipients of the Arscht Cannon Foundation scholarships.”

Executive Chef Tim Hunter praised these students.

“They have the enthusiasm, exactly what you want to see. Students have to have the passion. For Evening in the Orchard, they had the knife skills and did the majority of the cutting,” he said.

Chef Hunter also teaches students that culinary service requires more than food preparation.

“It’s about networking, talking to people.”

Nery and Nighferl are all smiles when they talk about meeting new people, learning new skills and trying new recipes.

“We are grateful for having the doors opened for us,” Nery said.

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More volunteer opportunities at the Food Bank of Delaware in Milford

volunteer roomEvening volunteer shifts are now available at our newly-expanded Milford Branch!

The official opening of the 8,000-square-foot expansion has created more volunteer opportunities for area residents, both as individuals and groups.

Thanks to our $2.6 million expansion, the new volunteer room offers space for additional evening hours, from 4:30 – 8 p.m., in addition to the morning hours from 8-11 a.m. and afternoon hours from noon until 4 p.m.

Volunteer opportunities include food sorting, assembling bags of food for the Backpack Program and meals for children’s nutrition programs, clerical work and helping with general tasks in the volunteer room.

“We are excited about expanding our volunteer hours to include evening shifts. This will allow groups that previously may have not been able to volunteer with us on a regular basis to participate. This is a positive addition to the use of our brand-new volunteer room in Milford,” said Chad Robinson, our Milford Branch director.

Special arrangements can be made on Saturdays or Sundays for volunteer groups of 10 or more.

Volunteers can register online at http://www.fbd.volunteerhub.com or e-mail volunteerinmilford@fbd.org for more information.

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