Culinary School student amazed by training, acquiring new skills

January 12, 2022

Despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and recent Omicron surge, the Food Bank of Delaware’s Culinary Schools continue to provide on-site training. Camden resident Jordan Montanye is excited for an opportunity to learn skills that serve as the foundation for a new career.

Even the double-masking protocol doesn’t dampen Jordan’s enthusiasm. “It’s going great,” he said, describing new experiences since this class started in early December. “I’m learning new things, like how to use a knife properly, and social skills, the proper etiquette to use in a restaurant. It’s pretty cool.”

Jordan, at age 18, is one of the youngest students in this class. His classes in electrical engineering at the University of Delaware were interrupted by the pandemic, so while at home he picked up a new hobby: cooking. “I love to cook,” he said. His first lessons came from an online course, and he’s been preparing meals for his parents and his grandmother.

One facet of the Culinary School training includes having students rotate responsibility as a sous chef for a week. They plan, prepare, and serve lunch for fellow students, and often staff as well. Jordan’s looking forward to his stint as a sous chef, but he’s had the experience of assisting. “It was a lot of fun,” he said, noting that he enjoyed cooking chicken and steamed vegetables. “It was pretty cool for me. I love to bake and to make meals.”

While he hopes to go back and finish his engineering studies, Jordan is now considering a new career goal: restaurant management. “I like to take charge in the kitchen. I’m good at math and science, and they influence the food we prepare in the kitchen. This course is amazing. It’s for all ages because it’s a very big learning experience,” he said.

Jordan said that he now views cooking in general and restaurants through a new lens. “It’s a lot more complex than I imagined, even the way they clean up. There is a proper way to do everything.”

The Food Bank’s Culinary Schools – one in Milford and one in Newark – offer a 14-week workforce development education that provides students with classroom and commercial kitchen training, plus a paid two-week work experience. Students also have the opportunity to become ServSafe® certified. The program is one piece of the Food Bank’s mission to provide long-term solutions to hunger and food insecurity. Visit www.fbd.org to learn more about the Food Bank of Delaware’s Culinary School and other workforce development programs.

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