Edna Mincey loves her job at Café Services, a group that runs corporate cafeterias, including the one at Comcast’s New Castle office off DuPont Highway.
She’ll celebrate her one-year anniversary with the company in March.
A graduate of class 38 of The Culinary School in January 2015, Edna has already been promoted once and is being groomed for a management position.
Life was not always easy for this graduate though.
The death of a loved one led Edna down a road of depression and heavy drinking.
“I am in recovery” she explains. “You have to want the help. You have to want it yourself. You have to want better. I wanted better. This was not me. I have kids to live for.”
She moved to Delaware several years ago looking for change.
“I have dreams,” she said. “Since I moved to Delaware, I have accomplished everything I said I was going to do. The best thing I did was come to Delaware and start over.”
When she arrived she went to social services for assistance, but realized she needed to do more.
“There was no way I could stay on social services, ” she explained. “I would rather go back to school any day and make more money and better myself. Nobody is going to hand you anything. You need to do it for yourself. Bottom line.”
Edna credits The Culinary School at the Food Bank of Delaware, our 14-week culinary arts training program, for her success.
“All the little things I learned came in handy,” she says. “I love to cook.”
Edna arrives for her job at Café Services everyday at 6:00 a.m. even though her shift doesn’t officially start until 7:00 a.m.
“I like to be here early,” she points out. “I love my job that much. I am dedicated. I love my boss. We laugh all day.”
Her boss, Chef Eric Schumacher, calls her a “celebrity” at Comcast.
“Edna is a star student. I have worked with a lot of people from the Food Bank, but her passion and drive is great,” he says.
Edna loves everyone at Comcast and even knows what her customers like to order.
“I like to engage with my customers,” she says. “If I am not here, they notice. They are spoiled. They’ll wait until I get off break to order.”
Chef Eric has provided many opportunities for Edna to grow in her position.
“I know how to order, develop menus, and I even ran the café by myself for three days,” she points out.
Edna helps experiment with new recipes, sets prices and provides catering support for large corporate functions at Comcast.
“During the holidays we catered an event where we used good china, silverware and glasses,” she explains. “I decorated with lights; I love decorating. If it looks good, you are going to want it.”
Edna learned a lot about paying attention to detail and food presentation at her two-week internship at the Christiana Hilton.
The knowledge that she gained through The Culinary School, her internship and employment at Café Services are paying off.
On the side, Edna has been operating a small catering business. She had the opportunity to provide catering services for 100 people at her church. She did so well that she is now catering a continental breakfast each month for the church’s board meetings.
Five years from now, Edna hopes to be operating her own catering business.
For now, she is focused on moving up at Café Services.
“I am going to move up in the company. I am not going to stay in one spot,” she says. “I want to be somebody, and I love who I am.”
For individuals considering The Culinary School, Edna advises, “Follow your passion. It’s never too late. Don’t give up. I don’t care what age you are, there is always room for growth and to learn something new.”
To learn more about The Culinary School at the Food Bank of Delaware, visit www.fbd.org/the-culinary-school.