Upon the recommendation of his probation officer, Erick Coleman enrolled in The Culinary School here at the Food Bank of Delaware after serving time in prison. “I had my apprenticeship in cooking already, so they sent me here so I could finish my education,” he explained.
Even before gaining his apprenticeship, cooking was always a passion of Erick’s. He fondly remembers the first dish that he ever prepared, “It was minced steak with scrambled eggs and cheese.”
Erick has learned a lot from his experience during the time enrolled here at The Culinary School. He was exposed for the first time in his life to the practical side of cooking, and all that goes into prepping and preparing food. “I have learned about seasonings and the different techniques that come with cooking certain foods,” he said. “I never knew about any of that.”
He remembers watching his grandmother cook while growing up. And as with most people, she often did not follow a recipe. “That’s how I learned how to cook. I never knew about the seasonings and measurements and all that.”
So The Culinary School’s chef instructor Nicole Wilson has been able to teach Erick about the technical side of cooking, including the use of different kitchen appliances, tools and the culinary language and lingo.
Erick’s favorite dish to prepare is spaghetti, which seems pretty easy and simple enough. But he likes to add a little more than just the traditional sauce and meatballs. “I have one that I like to put shrimp and chicken in,” he said.
While here at The Culinary School, Erick has learned a great deal regarding the hospitality element that comes with the restaurant business and dining, “I learned how to serve the people. Like if I were working at a five star restaurant, how to hold a bottle, how to greet them (the customers), how to hold the napkins and all that kind of stuff.”
Erick has also learned some things about himself while studying at The Culinary School. “From my background, I’ve always taken a bunch of shortcuts, so this is one of the first times that I really got into something positive and started doing some positive stuff,” he said.
Erick’s whole perspective has changed by being in a positive environment surrounded with his fellow students and his instructors, “Me just being here around some people that are trying to do something, it has kind of changed my whole outlook and perception on things.”
Upon graduation, Erick’s dream job is to work as a chef on a cruise ship, which will allow him the opportunity to travel and improve upon the skills he has learned at The Culinary School.
To learn more about The Culinary School, please visit http://www.fbd.org/the-culinary-school.