Michael Green says he always enjoyed cooking, but hadn’t considered the culinary field as a career until he learned about the Food Bank of Delaware’s Culinary School program through a brochure at the Dover Library.
Before he enrolled, Michael, a Manhattan native who moved to Dover by way of Charleston, S.C., had been working for Capitol Linens, but he wasn’t satisfied with his job.
When someone at the library provided more information about Delaware WONDER, a program to provide SNAP recipients (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly food stamps) with training opportunities, Michael contacted his social worker.
While Delaware WONDER offers training for other career paths as well, Michael knew he was only interested in the culinary field.
“My grandmother always had us in the kitchen, regardless of age or gender. She taught us to cook or clean. I got really fond of cooking. As I got older, I started watching the Food Network, and I converted the recipes to my taste,” he said.
So Michael applied, interviewed with Workforce Training Program Manager Ruthann Messick, and the rest is history in the making.
Culinary students spend 14 weeks in the program, developing skills in the classroom and in the kitchen. From proper knife-handling techniques to ServSafe ® certification. They also complete a two-week internship so they are prepared for entry-level jobs in the food service industry.
“It was one of the best choices I could have made,” he said
He’s now working the night shift at Dover Downs’ Great Burgers, and is waiting for an opening in the banquet kitchen to advance his career.
“I work with great people and great chef supervisors, and I’m learning,” he said. “I want to further my career. I’m going for the jacket. I want to be a chef. I always aim high, and I love a challenge.”
Michael said that in addition to learning basic culinary skills and earning a ServSafe ® certification, he’s grown as a person in the 14-weeks he’s spend here.
“I’m so thankful. I think of this place as family. It has really helped me control my attitude, helped me mellow. If it weren’t for the Food Bank, I don’t know where I’d be,” he said.
Michael says he’s also become an ambassador for the Culinary School. “Every chance I get, I share my experience and give people information, even some of the people I work with. Basically, I’m being a spokesman for the Food Bank.”
For more information about the Food Bank of Delaware’s Culinary School, visit www.fbd.org. The next class session begins on Jan. 22.