Thanks to The Culinary School at the Food Bank of Delaware, Dale Coston Jr. is almost ready to move forward in the food-service industry. The 32-year-old Frederica resident has completed 12 weeks of classroom and basic kitchen training at the Milford branch, and he started a two-week work experience at a new restaurant. On April 23, he’s set to graduate with his class during ceremonies that will be held in Milford.
Coston said he learned about The Culinary School at just the right time in his life. Although he had worked in restaurants, he was working odd jobs and considering CDL training when his best friend told him about the career-transition training provided by the Food Bank.
“I liked how the program rekindled my interest in cooking. I knew some things, but I didn’t have the confidence,” he said. “Cooking was where my heart really was, and the Culinary School put my heart where it wanted to be.”
A significant part of the hands-on training is the two-week work experience. Through Food Bank connections, Coston met with Nancy Forster, who is opening Nancy’s Mediterranean Café in downtown Milford. Forster has previously owned restaurants and a catering business, and she plans for the new café’ to offer mostly take-out items. “I like her ideas,” Coston said.
At 32 years old, he considers himself a more senior member of this class, and encourages younger students to overcome classroom challenges. “I tell them this is an opportunity because these people really care about you. Don’t squander it,” he said.
As for the highlight of program: Coston said he was honored to speak with Patricia Beebe, the Food Bank’s CEO. Beebe takes the time to visit and address each Culinary School class, and of course, attends each graduation ceremony.
“I admire what she’s doing for Delaware. That’s where her heart is, and that’s what love is about. She goes into neighborhoods where most people won’t go. I have fallen in love with the Food Bank, and meeting her put an extra gear in my love factory. She cares, and to me, that was the most galvanizing thing,” Coston said.
Visit the www.fbd.org to learn more about The Culinary School or other employment training opportunities through Delaware Food Works.