For Dover resident Jen Bradley, attending the Food Bank of Delaware’s Culinary School in Milford is a step toward fulfilling a lifelong dream. “I always wanted to be a chef. It’s my ultimate dream. Cooking is my passion,” she said.
The Culinary School is a 14-week program for unemployed, under employed, ex-offenders, individuals with disabilities and those in career transition. As one arm of Delaware Food Works, the Food Bank’s workforce development initiative, the program offers basic and high-end kitchen skills, ServSafe training and life skills. After 12 weeks in the classroom and the professional kitchen at the Food Bank, students enter a 2-week paid internship in the food service industry, typically a restaurant that is accessible from their home.
Prior to enrolling in the Culinary School, Jen had been testing the waters in the food industry by working in Arizona and commercial, institutional kitchens in Delaware.
She’s found her experiences at The Culinary School have exceeded her expectations. “I’m learning so many new things. I’ve learned to make marinara sauce and pasta from scratch,” she said.
Although she’s been preparing meals at home, there have been other benefits to the training she’s received. “I’m learning to step outside my box,” she added.
Jen has also been an ambassador for The Culinary School, sharing her experiences and encouraging others to enroll for future training.
“The best part is learning new things, and I tell people if you have a passion for cooking and you need an extra push, this is the place to do it,” Jen said.
She’s looking forward to furthering her career after graduation on Aug. 13. “I would like to be an executive chef.”
Click here for more information about Delaware Food Works training programs!