By Gwen Guerke, Communications Coordinator
Like many of the students who enroll in the Food Bank of Delaware’s Culinary School, Fred Drew already enjoyed cooking at home.
But after he started professional culinary training at our Milford branch, he quickly learned that working in the hospitality industry is much different than a home kitchen.
The Dover resident came into the program through the Delaware WONDER program, a pilot to provide SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly food stamps) employment training opportunities.
“I heard about this when I went to get my food stamps, and I didn’t wait for them to call me.”
Fred also had some experience working in restaurant kitchens, but lacked the education that would allow him to advance.
When he graduates in October, he will also have on-the-job training. He’s been working 36-40 hours a week at the newly opened Mission Barbecue in Dover.
“I was hired as a line cook, but really I do everything,” he said. He works in the evening after classes, preparing for the next day as well as cooking.
“We’ve been slammed. I have cooked a lot of fries.”
He explains that the combination of classroom instruction and hands-on experiences in the Food Bank’s kitchen were invaluable.
Among the skills he acquired were the proper way to carry knives, clean the fryers, use the dishwashing equipment, and of course, a variety of cooking techniques.
“It prepared me different than cooking at home. It prepared me for the outside, things I’ve been able to apply in the kitchen,” Fred said. “I’m getting the experience too.”
After graduation, Fred says he plans to continue working in the culinary field, and hopefully at Mission Barbecue.
“I tell everyone to take this course,” he added.
For more information about the Food Bank of Delaware’s Culinary School, click here.