Category Archives: The Culinary School

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 http://www.fbd.org/the-culinary-school/.

Leave a comment

Filed under Programs, The Culinary School

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

Leave a comment

Filed under Events, The Culinary School

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 http://www.fbd.org/the-culinary-school.

Leave a comment

Filed under The Culinary School

Culinary Student Spotlight: Dave Coverdale

Dave CoverdaleBy Kevin Crean, Communications Intern

Students from The Culinary School at the Food Bank of Delaware come from all walks of life. Recently, I had the opportunity to sit down with Dave Coverdale, who is enrolled at The Culinary School in Newark.

Dave, born and raised in Bear, DE, has always enjoyed cooking. He has experience in the banking industry and decided to go back to school for the culinary arts. Dave did some research and found information about the school and proceeded to enroll.

Dave has gained a great deal of knowledge in his short time here at The Culinary School. From kitchen terminology and kitchen etiquette, to knife skills and how to use professional cooking equipment, our culinary students are taught it all. Some of his favorite dishes he has learned to prepare are mirepoix, clarified butter, roasted garlic, roux and soups, as well as stocks.

Dave is currently excelling in both the kitchen and classroom. Wanting to gain experience beyond the walls of the Food Bank volunteered his time to help grill burgers and hot dogs at Woodside Farm Creamery’s annual National Ice Cream Day celebration and is doing a variety of culinary tasks  at the Our Lady of Fatima festival.

Dave’s training is not limited to culinary techniques and knife skills; he is also learning life skills, like working with different types of people, which are needed to excel not only in the kitchen, but in his day-to-day life.

Dave says that The Culinary School has impacted his life in “a very positive way, inside and outside of the class.”

Ready for a career in the food service industry? The next class in Newark begins September 22 (Milford class begins August 18). To learn more about The Culinary School at the Food Bank of Delaware, please click here.

Leave a comment

Filed under Programs, The Culinary School

Culinary Student Spotlight: Sean Shaver

071414_TCS at Verdi photo (2)For Sean Shaver, a Food Bank of Delaware Culinary School student, an internship at Verde –The Italian Cooking School in Milford, is a match made in heaven.

Nancy Chirdon Forster, Verde’s founder and owner, agrees.

A restaurateur and caterer, Nancy says she supports the mission of the Food Bank of Delaware.

“I believe in its value to the community, and it’s well run,” she said.

When The Culinary School opened at the Milford site in September, Nancy knew she would want to partner by providing internship opportunities.

While Verde is a cooking school, it’s not a training institution like The Culinary School; Verde offers cooking lessons, catering and private dinners, luncheons and classes.

“We participate in the Lewes Farmers’ Market, and we want to be part of Milford’s,” said Nancy, adding that as a one-woman business it was impossible to be at both markets at the same time each Saturday morning.

Enter Sean, who was busy making cookie dough for the next Saturday’s market.

“He’s developing an interest in everything. He’s caught that food bug,” said Nancy.

Because this is a small business, Sean is learning by doing. For example, on his first day Sean helped prepare a luncheon for 22 guests, a full house in the space Verde occupies on South West Front Street.

“I’m so happy to have Sean. I just tell him to yell if he’s drowning,” Nancy said, noting that his help will open up more options for her business and for other students as well.

A Milford resident, Sean is equally enthusiastic about the internship. A retail manager for 12 years, he welcomes the career change that combines his love for cooking with an opportunity to learn and grow.

Even as a youngster, Sean remembers watching public television cooking shows.

“Justin Wilson (Cajun chef on PBS) sucked me in, not just the cooking but the stories, and Miss Nancy (Verde’s owner) has stories,” he said.

Sean learned about The Culinary School from a flyer and felt “the timing was right.”

“I’m learning as I go. Chef Tim (Hunter, Chef Instructor) and Brenda (Palomo, Culinary Training Program Manager) have you prepared to jump into the fire. The whole staff, the curriculum, everything is excellent,” he said.

Chef Tim and Brenda also praised the way Sean has embraced the opportunity to move into a career in food service.

“Sean has a unique combination of culinary skill and a positive attitude that is extremely hard to find. I know he will continue to grow in the culinary field as he learns more, but you cannot teach anyone how to remain positive under pressure. You cannot teach how to have a sense of urgency, and Sean has that,” Brenda said.

Chef Tim said the internship at Verde seems like a great match.

“Sean is one of those guys who has the potential to be a good leader if he has the right guidance. It’s good to start out small. He’ll eventually get confidence to take on responsibilities,” he said.

Sean plans to stay on at Verde after he graduates on Aug. 5.

“I’m here, and I’m going to do what I can to help Miss Nancy grow her business,” he said.

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 Life Skills curriculum.

The next class in Milford begins on Aug. 18.

Learn more by visiting http://ow.ly/z94Uo

Leave a comment

Filed under The Culinary School

Getting a step up at The Culinary School at the Food Bank of Delaware

063014_TCS studentsBy Gwen Guerke, Communications Coordinator

For some students attending The Culinary School at the Food Bank of Delaware, the training is not about getting a fresh start. It’s more like a booster shot or a step up.

Take Curtis Bailey, for example. The Dover resident brings plenty of experience in the restaurant business, but not in the kitchen. He worked mostly in the front of the house as a server and bartender.

“Yes, I knew a little about the kitchen, but I needed more training, more of the basics,” he said.

Curtis also found the format of The Culinary School very appealing; he didn’t want to spend two years studying in a community college.

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 life skills curriculum.

Antonio Kokkinos from Bishopville, Md. drives at least an hour a day to school, and he feels the time spent on the road is a worthwhile investment.

Like Curtis, Antonio already ventured into the world of food service with his job at Panera Bread in West Ocean City, Md.

“I had a friend in the last class,” he said. “I talked to him about going to school.”

He also enjoys learning the basics, such as knife skills.

“I love the kitchen,” Antonio added.

Both students say they would recommend The Culinary School to prospective students.

“If anybody’s on the fence, I tell them ‘You’ll get more out of this program, and they place you in a spot.’,” Curtis said.

The next culinary class at the Milford Branch begins on August 18; Newark’s class begins on September 22. Applications are currently being accepted for both classes. Click here to apply online or to learn more about the program.

Leave a comment

Filed under The Culinary School

Alumni Spotlight: Orville Smullens

135By Kevin Crean, Communications Intern

The Culinary School at the Food Bank of Delaware is all about second chances. In addition to learning skills needed for a career in the food industry, students also learn life skills needed to thrive in their day-to-day lives. Students who attend The Culinary School are diverse and come from all different backgrounds and places.

I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Orville Smullens, a member of our alumni who is incredibly grateful for a second chance and the opportunity to attend The Culinary School.

Life was not always simple for Orville. A few bad decisions landed him in prison. Upon his release, he was determined to live a better life not just for himself, but his four children.

“Being in prison, I realized that the life I was living was not the life I wanted for myself. Something had to change,” he said. “I was willing to take and do whatever I needed to turn my life around.”

Upon release from prison, Orville was homeless and without a car. He learned more about The Culinary School through the work-release program. He said that he always had a knack for cooking, so he acted on that interest and signed up. After an interview with Sonia Murrey, our Culinary Training Program Manager, he was accepted into the program.

Thanks to his experience with The Culinary School, Orville learned a “wealth of information.” Among many other things, he said the main skills that he found most useful were how to cook and handle food properly during preparation and how to skillfully use a knife.

Orville’s favorite part of food preparation is the presentation of the meal itself, and he also enjoys how different ingredients can mix and go together to make different tastes and dishes. Orville’s favorite food is seafood, so along with preparing an assortment of seafood meals, his favorite dish to make is pepper steak.

In addition to the kitchen skills acquired at The Culinary School, Orville also found the life skills curriculum to be important. He said that being in prison prior to entering the program led him to have a different way of thinking and socializing. The Culinary School taught him the right way of dealing with others.

“I met some dynamic people,” he explained “ I believed that people didn’t care, because sometimes we tend to believe that some people stereotype us because of making mistakes. They wash their hands of us. Coming to The Culinary School here at the Food Bank I didn’t know which way I was going, but sitting down and talking to the staff here at the Food Bank, it was unbelievable that people were embracing me and wanting to help. Without them I don’t think I could have made it. They were a wealth of help and assistance. It has tremendously impacted my life.”
Orville says he is working hard to become a head chef one day. “For me, it’s not about the position. It’s about making people happy, making them smile and satisfying them,” he said.

While Orville is actively searching for a new job, he is proud to have his own apartment and car.

He encourages others to “take advantage of the opportunity” to attend The Culinary School. He advises future students, “do your best.” “I didn’t believe at first that my enrollment here could take me as far as it has,” he said. “I owe this school so much and I am so grateful for everything.”

To apply or learn more information about The Culinary School at the Food Bank of Delaware, visit http://www.fbd.org/the-culinary-school/.

Leave a comment

Filed under The Culinary School

Alumni Spotlight: Matt Mulligan

Matt Mulligan 2When our Culinary School graduates ask our President and CEO how they can thank the Food Bank for the opportunity to gain new job skills, she always answers, “There is no need to thank us. You thank us by getting and keeping a job.”

We are proud to hear success stories of graduates who are doing well. Culinary School graduate Matt Mulligan attended last month’s alumni networking event and shared that he is doing well as a grill cook and supervisor at Aramark.

The 14 weeks of training in 2012 at our Culinary School in Newark helped Matt develop a passion for the culinary arts. He landed an internship at Sherm’s Catering and upon graduation worked at ShopRite before joining a local Aramark team.

Matt believes that his culinary instructor, Mark Saunders, (Mark is no longer with the Food Bank, but keeps in touch with us!) helped him out a lot. Matt is not sure where he would be today without the training from The Culinary School. He recommends The Culinary School at the Food Bank of Delaware, because the training program helps graduates get good jobs.

Matt says The Culinary School taught him everything he needed to know to work in a large industrial-sized kitchen. Right now he is focused on running one of Aramark’s business dining accounts and becoming a food service director.

He is already looking forward to the next Culinary School alumni social, as he enjoyed meeting fellow graduates and listening to guest speaker Scott Daniels from Sodexo. He said that Scott’s advice was informative and helpful as he works to further his career.

Ready for a career in the culinary field? Visit http://www.fbd.org/the-culinary-school to learn more!

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under The Culinary School

Food Bank of Delaware celebrates 36th graduating class of The Culinary School

GraduatesFirst Lady Carla Markell helped to celebrate the accomplishments of six students who successfully completed our 14-week culinary training program at a graduation ceremony held this morning. Four distinguished alumni were honored for their contributions to the program post-graduation.

“A strong Delaware is a state where our citizens are trained and ready for the workforce,” said Markell. “Jack and I both applaud the efforts of the Food Bank of Delaware to make sure we not only meet the emergency food needs of our residents, but the need for workforce development programs like The Culinary School.”

Under the instruction of Food Bank of Delaware Chef Instructor Nicole Wilson, students have spent the past 14 weeks developing their passion for the culinary arts. From proper knife handling techniques to Serve Safe certification and completing an internship, the students are prepared for entry-level jobs in the food industry.

Graduates had the opportunity to cater the VIP tent for the Wilmington Grand Prix and an event for the Delaware Stars. Two graduates, Nelson Velazquez and Andrew Morley, competed in the male cook-off for the New Castle Moose Lodge.

“I would recommend The Culinary School to anyone,” said Morley. “It is a great way to learn a marketable skill and gain employment and a great first step on the way to a successful career.”

“Providing Delawareans with high-quality job training is central to our mission at the Food Bank of Delaware,” said Food Bank of Delaware President and CEO Patricia Beebe. “We know we cannot end hunger until we are able to ensure that Delawareans have access to jobs that provide a sustainable wage. We are proud to provide skilled employees to Delaware’s food industry.”

The mission of The Culinary School is two-fold. First, students are taught skills that are highly desirable to employers in the food industry. 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.

Following today’s ceremony, guests were served a barbeque-themed lunch prepared by the graduates. The menu featured Caribbean jerk chicken, pesto shrimp kabobs, barbeque ribs, tri-colored pasta salad, black bean and roasted corn salad, strawberry shortcake sliders, mixed berry cobbler and more.

Today’s graduates:
• Jailil Bailey
• Erick Coleman
• Brandon Collins
• Andrew Morley
• Nelson Velazquez
• Rosalind Williams

Distinguished alumni:
• Maureen Brown
• Orville Smullens
• Patrick Hulton
• Troy Lopez

To learn more about The Culinary School, please visit http://www.fbd.org/the-culinary-school/.

Leave a comment

Filed under The Culinary School

Culinary Spotlight: Graduate Phillip Kizer and Chef Hari Cameron of a(MUSE.)

0424_phillip3By Gwen Guerke, Communications Coordinator

Phillip Kizer (on the left in the photo) has an opportunity many would covet: he’s working at
a(MUSE.), one of the Delaware resort’s most highly-acclaimed restaurants.

Phillip, 22, of Dover, is a recent graduate of the Food Bank of Delaware’s Culinary School in Milford’s second class.

On the day of our visit to the Baltimore Avenue restaurant in Rehoboth Beach, Chef Hari Cameron prepared the staff meal with an Indian theme, so while we talked we savored lentil dal, rice seasoned with rice syrup and cardamom accompanied by raita.

Hari says he’s pleased to mentor Phillip.

“There’s a long-standing tradition of mentorship,” he said, adding that early in his career he was mentored by chefs at Ram’s Head and Kevin Reading, formerly of Nage’ and now at Abbott’s Grill in Milford.

“I was a blank canvas,” said Hari.

“You can teach knowledge but you can’t teach a sense of urgency. It’s a race against the clock, the ability to do both, push yourself forward and do it faster,” he said.

“It’s about coming into work with your head and mind in the right place.”

Phillip takes notes at work; he is expected to bring his notebook and pen, and this chef expects him to follow directions.

“It’s a team effort. Each person is doing their job, and the person who is the newest gets support. I’m never going to yell at Phillip,” said Hari.

“It’s also about discipline. For example, Phillip had to spend an hour shelling fava beans,” he added.

While the tedious task of shelling those beans might not be the most glamorous work, it’s all part of the learning curve for Phillip.

He’s also learning other aspects of the culinary world, making stock, turning vegetables, how to plate. He’s tried new and different foods.

“I don’t quit and I try to work hard. Even if it’s hard, I keep going,” Phillip said.

He also has a new goal: working in Europe.

“Everyone in the kitchen talks about their experience in Europe, that it made them that much better. I want to go to culinary school and study abroad,” he said.

And who knows where his dream will take him?

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Supporters, The Culinary School