Orchard dinner benefit wows attendees; helps FBD Culinary School

By Gwen Guerke, Communications Coordinator

Let’s just say our Dinner in the Orchard was an over-the-top success, so if you missed it, you might want to be on the lookout for announcements about next year’s event.

The benefit for The Culinary School at the Food Bank’s Milford Branch took place on Thursday, Sept. 3 at T.S. Smith & Sons near Bridgeville. The setting itself was rustic and relaxing. Dinner was served under an open pavilion bordered by a cornfield on one side and an orchard on the other. Nothing like dining al fresco at the end of a long work week!

Guests traveled down a dirt road (You don’t find many of them anymore!) to park in an open field before they enjoyed the cold beer from Mispillion River Brewing, fine wines from Great Shoals, and a hearty buffet dinner prepared by our culinary instructors, Tim Hunter and Sean McNiece, along with students from The Culinary School.

The menu featured farm-fresh produce from appetizers to dessert, so everyone enjoyed such treats as gazpacho, fried eggplant, gourmet coleslaw and potato salad, fried chicken, steak, black bean tacos, potato and zucchini casserole and more, topped off with watermelon sorbet and apple tarts for dessert.

The Swing Noteables played music for dining.

In addition to seasonal fare, Circle C Outfit provided carriage rides of the beautiful farm setting.

Thank goodness the weather cooperated because nearly 100 guests came out for the event, some of whom drove from as far as Wilmington and Baltimore to savor a great dinner that benefits an even better cause.

The Culinary School is a 14-week training program for unemployed and under-employed people who want to enter the food service industry. In addition to classroom and kitchen instruction, the program includes a two-week paid internship, training in kitchen skills, life skills, such as financial literacy and resume’ writing and an opportunity to become ServSafe certified.

Students in the FY15 program had an 85 percent graduation rate and a 70 percent employment rate.

At the Milford branch, six students graduated last Thursday, and a new class of seven started today!

Special thanks to the Smith family for hosting us at their beautiful pavilion!

For more information about the Food Bank of Delaware’s programs and services, please visit www.fbd.org.

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