Culinary School student finds second chance for success

April 21, 2017

Darnell Jervey received a culinary certificate from another local culinary training program in early 2016, but admits he didn’t take it seriously.

A few bumps in the road led Darnell to Delaware’s Department of Corrections. On work release now, Darnell is committed to turning things around, not only for himself, but his two daughters.

He learned about The Culinary School at the Food Bank of Delaware thanks to a flyer hanging on the bulletin board at the Plummer Community Corrections Center, a work release center for offenders.

Darnell knew others at the Plummer Center, like Cleon Stewart, a recent graduate and employee at Two Stones Pub, who found success through the 14-week program at The Culinary School.

With his prior knowledge of the culinary field, Darnell thought it was worth a second try so he enrolled.

This time around, Darnell says things are different. He says the program at the Food Bank is more structured and learning a variety of life skills has been important.

Darnell’s work in the kitchen and classroom is paying off. He’s currently interning at the Newark Senior Center.

At 26, Darnell realizes that it is time to get serious about his career.

“Before I was just living life,” he admits. “Now that I have realized I am older,  I have to get myself on pace so I can have things. I have two daughters; I have to get myself together so I can take care of them.”

Now in week 10 of training, Darnell has learned to use a knife properly, the importance of food safety in the kitchen and more. He and his classmates have even had the opportunity to cater several special events, including a meet and greet with Governor John Carney.

Darnell admits he has a long way to go in his culinary journey. He looks forward to obtaining an entry-level position upon graduation. In October he will be released from the Plummer Center.

Darnell says The Culinary School has helped him change as a person.

Looking back, he now understands that every decision in life has a consequence.

And looking ahead, Darnell says, “I just want to be stable and not in trouble, taking care of my kids, have my own apartment or house, and just have a job and succeed.”

The Culinary School is building the foundation Darnell needs for the stability and success he is working towards.

Darnell is enthusiastic about the training program and is telling others at the Plummer Center about it.

“I tell people about it,” he says.

His pitch to his peers, “‘They get you a job, they teach you things. It starts in June, you need to sign up. It will help you build a career and not just a job you might not want to do.'”

The next class of The Culinary School in Newark begins June 5! Click here to learn more or sign up.

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