TCS Student Spotlight: Orville Smullens

By Mike Dombkoski, Communications Intern

Many students come to The Culinary School (TCS) at the Food Bank of Delaware looking for a fresh start after past troubles. Student Orville Smullens is one of the latest looking for an opportunity at a much brighter future.

Smullens discovered TCS from a simple advertisement through the Department of Labor. What brought Smullens to the Department, however, was not so easy.

Prior to becoming a student here at TCS, he spent more than five years in prison. Looking for a new path in order to leave that part of his life behind, he found hope in the form of our culinary arts program.

“I am very grateful to be able to have this opportunity,” said Smullens. “My intentions are to be the best that I can be and hopefully pave the path for others who follow me.”

At the Food Bank, Smullens has been surprised by the multitude of skills and knowledge he has acquired in a matter of just a few short weeks. Proper food preparation, handling and knife skills have already been taught, with even more skills to come.

With all these new skills, Smullens is growing as a chef and is looking to perfect his favorite dish to prepare—a peppered steak. He’ll be seeking employment in the field of culinary arts when the TCS’s 14- week program comes to an end.

Interacting with Smullens, one would never guess he had spent any time behind bars. His consistent gratitude and praise towards the Food Bank and TCS, his calm and polite demeanor, and his willingness and excitement to learn and acquire skills in the kitchen dictate otherwise. These are traits of a person with a bright future, which is exactly what Orville Smullens has.

“TCS was a major step for myself for turning my life around,” said Smullens. “Having this opportunity will help me to land a decent job and become a productive member of society.”

“All I want is to demonstrate to others that have been in my situation that change and opportunities are possible.”

We at the Food Bank of Delaware commend Smullens for his progress and praise TCS for its fine work!

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