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.
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.