By Gwen Guerke, Communications Coordinator
Bernard Harris is an ambassador for the Food Bank of Delaware’s Culinary School. While he doesn’t travel to speaking engagements on our behalf, he’s happily employed in the food service industry. And that was the goal of his 14-week training.
Bernard graduated on Dec. 22, 2015 from the program at the Milford branch where he received hands-on instruction from Executive Chef Tim Hunter.
Like some of our students, he came into The Culinary School with some experience but with no professional training.
Bernard said he learned about The Culinary School through the state Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, a division of the Department of Labor.
“I applied to Delaware Tech,” he said, but learned that he would be required to successfully complete some academic classes, such as math and English, in addition to the food service curriculum. He found those requirements unappealing.
“I have always been in food service. I worked in a Safeway in California. I liked to bake at home, and I have worked in nursing homes,” he said.
“I have been in food service but I never had formal training. Working under Chef Tim, I learned a lot, even though I thought I knew food service. There are a lot of small things, knife skills and learning ServSafe,” he added.
He said he would recommend The Culinary School to those who think they have an interest in the food service industry.
Bernard completed his two-week paid internship at Bayhealth Kent General, and applied for an opening at Bayhealth Milford Memorial.
Chef Justin Lemnios was pleased, and still is.
“We always need people with experience, and a culinary education is preferred,” the chef said. “He came to us with some experience, and he is ServSafe certified. Everything he was taught in school, he gets to use it here.”
One day last week, Bernard was busy in the prep area, but he has also worked on the grill in the cafeteria.
He says he likes the pace of this workplace, the lack of tension and the camaraderie. The food service staff prepares about 80 patient meals daily and about 125 entrees for the cafeteria.
“It’s slower than a restaurant,” Bernard added. “Here it’s laid back, and there’s not the pressure. It’s not as intense. I like the atmosphere and the people I work with. Chef Justin is very understanding.”
And there’s a great deal of job satisfaction.
“It’s very rewarding to me. It’s not always easy, but you can make it work. You prepare something good, and people enjoy it. That’s so rewarding.”
For more information about the Food Bank of Delaware’s Culinary School, please click here.