Culinary School: Student cooking up more than dinner

September 21, 2021

The Food Bank of Delaware’s Culinary School offers a whole lot more than cooking instructions; it provides hope and the opportunity to realize big dreams. And it’s all inclusive – there’s no typical student. Take Doug Anderson, for example. This 66-year-old Greenwood resident retired three years ago from a career as a custodian for the Woodbridge School District, only to realize retirement wasn’t his cup of tea.

Although he had – and no doubt still has – projects at home, he didn’t feel fulfilled. Doug always enjoyed cooking meat-and-potatoes home-cooked meals, so when a friend told him about The Culinary School, he gave it a second thought. After all, it’s free and convenient. So, Doug’s now a very enthusiastic student.

The Culinary School is a 14-week program for unemployed, underemployed, individuals re-entering society from the Department of Correction, individuals with disabilities and those in career transition that teaches basic and high-end kitchen skills, ServSafe ® training, and life skills, culminating with a 2-week, paid work experience.

“ServSafe® is very important,” notes Doug, whose goal is to open his own sandwich shop/ café right in Greenwood. “I’ll have a take-out menu, but right now I’m working on permits and approvals,” he said.

He realizes it will take time and money to convert the site into a restaurant. “It’s expensive to open a restaurant,” he said.

In the meantime, he’s pleased to be moving toward his dream. He has some past experience in working in the industry. Years ago, he was a part-time employee in the fast-food sector, and he’s sold and serviced restaurant supplies.  “I’m renewing my interest in food,” he added.

On a personal note, Doug said his home-made potato salad and ambrosia salads are always popular when he goes to a covered-dish affair. “I’m pretty good at sides. I don’t take any leftovers home; I just wash the dish.”

Scholarships are available for the next culinary classes, scheduled to begin December 6 in Newark and Milford.

Click here to learn more about the Food Bank of Delaware’s Culinary School and other training opportunities.

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