Category Archives: Milford Expansion

Starbucks volunteers pack 7,500 meals at Milford Branch

By Gwen Guerke, Communications Coordinator

Last Wednesday, Delawareans at risk of hunger benefitted from a dedicated team of 28 volunteers from Starbucks (also our 2014 Group Volunteer of the Year!) who came out to spend a morning at our Milford Branch.

There was a sense of enthusiasm in the Bistro as the green-shirted team members listened to a warm welcome from Chad Robinson, the Milford Branch Director. Matt Brandi, volunteer coordinator, explained the day’s work assignment.

Before heading to the volunteer room, Dana Krieg, a Rehoboth Starbucks store manager, took volunteers on a coffee journey to the mountainous regions of Peru in an exquisite Starbucks Reserve “Cold Press” tasting paired with a delicate combination of both sweet and savory offerings.

After the tasting, the group headed to the volunteer room.

Starbucks partners really embraced the challenge as they sorted, packed and stacked a record-breaking meal count: 7,500 meals or 9,000 pounds.

Jeff Danley, regional district manager for Starbucks in Delaware and Maryland, reports that to date, this event contributed to the now over 32,000 packed meals processed by the Starbucks and SiTEL families (one of Starbucks’ vendors!).

When all the work was finished, volunteers were treated to a fantastic lunch prepared by Chef Tim Hunter and the newest class of culinary students.

The Food Bank of Delaware appreciates the positive attitudes and helping hands of each and every volunteer. Anyone who is interested in contributing as a volunteer can find more information on our website by clicking here!

Check out more pictures from Starbucks’ volunteer day!

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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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