Culinary School Spotlight: Kelly Otto

November 26, 2019

Kelly Otto and her Delaware Food Works Culinary School classmates started their two-week paid work experience yesterday. She has already landed employment with High Five Hospitality’s Limestone BBQ and Bourbon and the Stone Balloon Ale House!

Kelly and her classmates have spent the past 12 weeks learning the ins and outs of the food service industry. From mother sauces to proper knife cuts and the opportunity to become ServSafe certified, the students are ready for entry-level careers in the food service industry.

Kelly is described by Executive Chef Tim Hunter as a rockstar. With no prior food service experience, Kelly’s talent and drive have impressed Chef Tim over the past 12 weeks. “She has a bright future ahead of her,” he says.

She learned about The Culinary School through a job counselor.

“It’s given me a lot of skills and opportunities,” she points out. “And confidence.”

Skills like using a knife, basic stocks and sauces, and baking from scratch have all been helpful.

Last week Kelly and her classmates took their kitchen final. She prepared steak with chimichurri sauce and roasted rosemary potatoes. Her dish was the judges favorite, and it will be featured on the menu at the class’ December 12 graduation.

Kelly also had the opportunity to work in the Food Bank’s Discover Cafe where she received experience interacting with customers and preparing food. Her red velvet and pumpkin rolls were featured desserts.

Life skills training has also been helpful. Students worked alongside mentors from Barclays to prepare their resumes and LinkedIn profiles and practice interviewing skills.

“You have to beable to sell yourself,” she says. “If you don’t know how to talk… that’s a big part of it.”

And Kelly’s 10-second elevator pitch, “I am hardworking, very personable, work well as a team, I am very punctual, I don’t like to miss anything. I am eager.”

Her eagerness has paid off considering she’s already landed employment.

Kelly admits she never thought about food service as a potential career until starting the 14-week training program at The Culinary School. A year from today, she hopes to “have a good job, moving up from where I started and being in a better place.”

Kelly’s advice to potential students, “Go for it. Take the risk, but you have to want it. If you aren’t interested in it and doing different things, different techniques, listening to the instructor and working as a team… it’s not going to work.”

Interested in a career in the food service industry? The next class of The Culinary School in Newark and Milford begins Monday, January 13. Click here to learn more and to apply online! 

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