By Mike Dombkoski, Communications Intern
The Culinary School (TCS) at the Food Bank of Delaware has helped create new chefs, formed job opportunities and changed lives. The students at TCS learn skills in the kitchen, while also learning a lot about themselves and their fellow classmates. Stephany Sweeten is one of the latest to take on this experience.
Sweeten, a mother of two, was looking for a small culinary arts program in order to craft her skills in the kitchen. She stumbled upon The Culinary School at the Food Bank, which offered the right type of class size for her needs.
“I wanted something small,” said Sweeten. “I haven’t been in school in a long time. I didn’t want to get left behind.”
And at the TCS here at the Food Bank, that does not happen. The Culinary School consistently boasts its high graduation rate and has pride in the 70% employment rate for graduated students.
Sweeten admits herself she was surprised by how much she was learning from the course. She has already learned a lot about the culinary arts while also learning a little bit about the people around her.
“The course was a lot more detailed in areas I wasn’t expecting it to be,” she said. “It’s also a very good group that is full of respect. We’ve learned a lot about interacting with each other as well.”
“The best part, however, is being reminded of giving. The atmosphere here…so much is done for children. It opened my eyes again to what was going on around me.”
Although her last name may make you think she handles pastries and desserts, Sweeten does have one specific food she’s passionate about: barbeque sauce. Having worked in the food industry in different capacities since she was 18, she was able to pick up tips along the way and learn through trial and error. Her dream is to take that barbeque sauce, along with barbeque foods, and start her own mobile food truck.
“The Culinary School has allowed me to focus on what I want to do. I can think about me,” said Sweeten.
“I am ready for fun. I worked in an office for 22 years. I have a goal and I have a hope and a dream I want to make it happen.”
The Food Bank of Delaware applauds Stephany Sweeten, The Culinary School, and its students (and can’t wait to try that barbeque sauce!)