Culinary School student finds unexpected rewards, satisfaction

November 6, 2015

By Gwen Guerke, Communications Coordinator

Not long after The Culinary School at the Food Bank of Delaware’s seventh class started in September, Frances Robinson quietly distinguished herself as a shining star.

The 26-year-old Harrington resident, a graduate of Lake Forest High School, admits she was a bit apprehensive about immersing herself into the 14-week training course.

This program, certified by the state Department of Education, targets the unemployed, underemployed, ex-offenders, individuals with disabilities and those in career transition.

“I was nervous,” she said, and though she is still a bit shy, she is embracing the experience and looking forward to her upcoming two-week internship.

Frances said she learned about the possibilities offered by The Culinary School after her grandmother, who is enrolled in the Food Bank’s senior program, shared the information.

Since this is Frances’s first post-high school educational experience, she had to climb a steep learning curve.

“It was weird, different personalities and different people all in one classroom,” she said.

But Frances says she is the only one who cooks at home, so she enjoys opportunities to learn new food preparations.

Before she started at The Culinary School, she loved to bake cookies and fried chicken with sliced baked potatoes.

Now, the menu is evolving.

“I love learning different cooking styles,” Frances said, adding that she successfully prepared Alfredo sauce at home.

Her biggest challenge, so far? Making shrimp bisque because “I don’t like the smell of seafood.”

But that is offset by the benefits.

“I love the book work, and Chef Tim and Ellen (Roland, program manager) have been so helpful,” she said.

Chef Instructor Tim Hunter has been pleased with Frances’s efforts.

“She is very dedicated and determined,” he said.

Her focus has paid off. Now Frances is waiting for her orientation to intern as the on-call catering crew at Harrington Raceway & Casino.

The program offers 12 weeks of classroom and kitchen training, followed by a two-week paid internship.

Students enrolled in FY 15 had an 85 percent graduation rate and a 70 percent employment rate.

Interested in a career in the food service industry? Click here to learn more about The Culinary School!


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