Culinary Spotlight: Shane Pennell

shane01By Gwen Guerke, Communications Coordinator

Just nine weeks into classes at our Culinary School at the Milford Branch, Shane Pennell has a part-time job in a local restaurant. And it’s a job that is not only challenging; it also offers rewards beyond a paycheck.

Shane, 19, says he always liked to cook, and when his mother, a member of our staff, told him about the opportunity, he signed up for the first 14-week program offered at our Milford site.

For this Milford-area resident, the decision was a positive one. “I like coming here, and I haven’t missed a day. I’m learning a lot,” Shane said.

Chef Tim Hunter, The Culinary School’s Chef Instructor, praises Shane’s commitment. “He’s dedicated. That’s why I put him in the kitchen right away. He’s willing to work, and I want him to be working,” he said.

His enthusiasm landed him a part-time job at Betty Lou’s, a restaurant on Rehoboth Boulevard in Milford where breakfast, lunch and dinner are served six days a week, and a Sunday brunch is offered.

Betty Lou, the restaurant’s namesake and owner, says the relationship is a win-win. “It’s working. It’s a great idea. Shane is eager to learn what I have to teach him,” she said.

Needless to say, working as a professional in the culinary world is different than cooking at home, but that is a challenge which Shane embraced.

“I jumped right again by myself,” he said, and by doing so, he feels successful.

Brenda Palomo, program manager for The Culinary School, is proud of Shane’s progress. “He’s one of youngest students, but he’s a natural leader. He really showed an interest and wanted to be more involved. We’re pretty proud of him,” she said.

Shane relates a story of how he prepared a special order for a customer who was pleased with Shane’s béchamel sauce and al dente pasta for what could have been ordinary chicken parmesan.

“It’s different. Cooking at home, you have a lot of time. In a restaurant, you have to have everything out on timing. It’s pressure and organization, and presentation plays a big key too,” Shane said.

So far, Shane says he enjoys nearly every aspect of The Culinary School’s curriculum. “I don’t have a favorite dish. I just like learning, but I don’t like to bake,” he said.

As for the future, Shane is looking forward to a career in the U.S. Army where he can use his culinary experience.

“But I don’t see myself opening up a restaurant,” he said.

No matter where his journey leads him, Shane will still have mastered useful and marketable skills.

“It’s a great opportunity,” said Betty Lou. “After all, everybody’s got to eat.”

To learn more about opportunities at The Culinary School at the Milford Branch, contact Brenda at (302) 292-1305 ext 107 or bpalomo@fbd.org.

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Filed under Milford Expansion, Programs, The Culinary School

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