By Ashley Stahmer, Communications Intern
For Kahlil El Bey, it hasn’t been an easy road to get where he is today. While he is a certified nurse assistant, he hasn’t been able to complete the exam to become a licensed practical nurse (LPN) due to financial restrictions. He learned of The Culinary School through a brochure and believes he was meant to come here. “I was looking for work, and the situation got kind of critical,” he says. “Seeing an opportunity like this in the unemployment office helped me figure out what to do, and I made the decision to apply to the Food Bank’s program.”
Pursuing a career in the food service industry made sense to Kahlil, because he saw the connection between healthy eating and nursing. His main goal has always been to help people make the right choices. “I want to take care of people. Food is the first medicine for people,” he points out. “I want to help people pick better foods and show them how to use food to assist them, whatever their situation is.”
While Kahlil currently works at Panda Express, he has extensive plans for his future. Especially after the situations he’s been through, he doesn’t take this opportunity for granted. He hopes to make the most of his time in the food service industry while still putting his previous experience to use.
“I’m not allowing the circumstances or conditions to change my mind set. Learning how to use my time wisely is important. You can’t get time back. I didn’t want my time to be for nothing,” he says. “I want to finish this culinary class and then combine it with my previous classes, so my nursing education won’t be a loss. I want to teach about food in the healthcare industry.”
The Food Bank has offered more than Kahlil ever expected. He hopes to take the National Restaurant Association’s ManageFirst classes, which are offered at the Food Bank and provide business training for people in the food industry. In five years, Kahlil’s main goal is to be working for himself. He plans to take the management course so he can start his own company, which would connect healthy diet plans with the healthcare industry. He says, “This program opened up the door to other things, because now I’m able to make everything work. If it had not been for this, my path probably would’ve been a little different.”
He recognizes how important the people running The Culinary School are and stresses the impact they’ve had on him. “Chef Tim and Chef Sean know what they’re doing, and that’s why I take this class seriously. They help make the atmosphere of the class more professional,” he says.
Kahlil’s positive mindset has gotten him this far, and he has high hopes for his future. While he’s always known he could be successful, it took some time to find the right opportunities and support he needed. “You want your life to count for something, and you want to leave something. A lot of times, I couldn’t follow through because I didn’t have the assistance I needed,” he says. “When you hit the bottom, you have a better view of the opportunities you’re given. The Food Bank is doing tremendous work, and this is where I’m going to make it happen.”
Interested in a career in the food service industry? Click here to learn more about The Culinary School at the Food Bank of Delaware!