Seven members of The Culinary School at the Food Bank of Delaware celebrated their achievements today during a graduation ceremony for the 11th class at the Food Bank’s Milford facility.
The graduates are Brenda Esquivel, Samuel Herholdt, Jeremy Kloepfer, Zachary Nicar, Nelson Porto, Angela Thomason, and Hope Truitt.
Executive Director of Food & Beverage at Harrington Raceway & Casino DJ Silicato was guest speaker for the ceremony.
“The difference in this program is the passion. You’re looking at people who want a job,” he said.
One of the graduates in this class, Hope Truitt, is already employed at Harrington Raceway & Casino, and Silicato praised her performance on the job.
Under the instruction of Food Bank of Delaware Executive Chef Tim Hunter and Chef Instructor Jesse Santiago along with the guidance of Ruthann Messick, Culinary School Program Manager, the students spent the past 14 weeks developing their skills and passion for the culinary arts. From proper knife handling techniques to Serve Safe certification and completing a two-week internship, the students are prepared for entry-level jobs in the food industry.
In addition to a field trip to visit the kitchens at Dover Downs Casino, members of this class also had the opportunity to learn new skills by preparing and working several fall fundraisers, including Farm to Fork, Dinner in the Orchard, the Southern Delaware Wine Food Music Festival and the Blue Jean Ball.
Chef Tim praised the students’ personal and professional development.
“It was a pleasure seeing the growth in this class. They came in unsure of themselves, and as they became to focus and work, the change, and not just in their culinary skills, was impressive,” he said.
The mission of The Culinary School is two-fold. First students are taught skills that are highly desirable to employers in the food industry and second, these newly-developed skills have the potential to lead to jobs in the industry that provide job security and economic sustainability.
Students are referred to the program through the Criminal Justice Council, Delaware Department of Labor, Delaware Division of Vocational Rehabilitation and other community-based organizations.
The next class of The Culinary School in both Milford and Newark will start Monday, February 13. Applications are currently being accepted. To learn more, please click here.