Freda Ofori has spent the past 10 years working in home care and is ready for a career change. She learned about the Food Bank of Delaware’s Delaware Food Works culinary training program thanks to a flyer from her pastor.
The program is providing Freda with the opportunity to learn basic and high-end kitchen skills. “I know how to cook, but not professionally,” she says. “I am getting the professional training that I need to get.”
For the past 12 weeks, she and her classmates have been learning the ins and outs of the food service industry. With the pandemic, class meets remotely and in small in-person groups three days a weeek.
For this student, learning about safe food temperatures, practicing knife skills and getting the opportunity to become ServSafe certified have been most valuable.
“I have really gained knife skills,” Freda explains. “I am used to cutting a lot, as I prep all my cooking, but here I have really learned how to hold the knife well, how to cut and how to cut faster.”
In addition to skills needed in the kitchen, students also spend time developing life skills like problem solving, teamwork, resume writing, interviewing and more.
“Life skills have been very helpful to me,” Ofreda points out. “I have learned to make some changes in life. I have really realized that cooking has always been my passion. This is the time. I need a new career change, and I have to go for it.”
She highly recommends the program and is even encouraging a friend to apply. “Come in and apply, just come in,” Freda advises.
Freda starts her two-week work experience soon and looks forward to graduating from the program in March.
After graduation, “I see myself, if I am not working with a chef, I will be doing my own catering services,” she says.
Five years from now, Freda hopes to own her own restaurant. She loves making African foods, but looks forward to expanding her recipe repertoire with American foods.
For now, she wants to continue to learn from her chef instructor, Tim Hunter, and fellow classmates. “It’s up to me to learn this stuff,” she says. “I have to step up and do what I have the passion for. This is the time, and I am just going to do it.”
Interested in starting a new career like Freda? The next class of the Delaware Food Works Culinary School begins March 22 in Newark and Milford! Click here to learn more or to apply online for the free training!