Food Bank chefs bring culinary training to school nutrition staff

March 2, 2017

Ensuring that Delaware school children have healthy breakfasts and lunches at schools is critical in ensuring that children have the fuel they need to learn, play and grow.

On any given day, Delaware school nutrition staff produce thousands of lunches per day. The planning and execution of school meal programs takes a team of committed dietitians, cooks, staff workers and others.

To help school nutrition staff plan and execute these healthy, homemade meals, the Food Bank of Delaware’s team of chefs have begun offering training specific for cafeteria cooks.

Food Bank Executive Chef Tim Hunter has hosted two training sessions for school nutrition workers in both the Red Clay Consolidated School District and the Milford School District.

“It’s important to get kids to try different varieties of food. We can do that by making foods look interesting,” says Hunter.

In addition to making foods look interesting, understanding how to maintain freshness is also critical, especially when cooking in large quantities, he explains.

New school nutrition standards have also required new techniques for preparing foods.

For example, wheat pasta cooks differently that regular pasta same with long-grain rice versus short-grain rice, he points out.

Chef Tim has catered the training sessions to best meet the needs of his audience.

A recent training for Red Clay School District nutrition staff focused on recipe standardization, quality indicators, temperature, presentation and efficiency in the kitchen.

For two hours, Chef Tim and Chef Instructors Donnie Stephens and Jesse Santiago worked with cafeteria workers to show techniques to help prepare recipes in large quantities and even demonstrated some of the recipes typically prepared in the district’s cafeterias.

“We are very happy with our training with Chef Tim Hunter,” said Red Clay Nutrition Specialist Jessica Farrand MS, RD, LDN. “Tim and his assistant chefs were incredibly informative, skilled and engaging in their training of our cooks and lead workers for our school nutrition program. They were wonderful teachers and really made their demonstrations and commentary relatable for our staff, and they were entertaining as well! We would certainly recommend  other school districts to invite Chef Tim and his team to do a training session with their staff.”

Chef Tim and the Food Bank culinary team look forward to providing training for other school districts as well.

“In this industry it is a learning experience because we are always going to have different foods,” he said. “At the end of the day we are all trying to prepare food for our audience and we want to prepare nice food that looks good and tastes good.”

Delaware school districts interested in hosting a Food Bank of Delaware chef should contact Anna McDermott, Workforce Training Director, at or (302) 444-8125. The cost for a two-hour session is $350; a six-hour session is $650.



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