Tiffany Greenfield has worked in food service since she was 18. Her first job was at iHOP, and over the years, she has moved up to work in fine dining. Most recently she worked the breakfast shift at the Hilton.
Tiffany’s positions have always been front of the house, but her passion has always been cooking in her home kitchen. Friends frequently ask her to cater parties, and she realized she could turn her love for cooking into a business.
She learned about the opportunity to attend The Culinary School while attending a nutrition class at her son’s elementary school. Food Bank of Delaware Community Nutrition Educator Gina Maresca shared information about Food Bank programming, and The Culinary School caught Tiffany’s attention.
Tiffany and her classmates are currently in week 8 of their 14 week training program, but Tiffany is already on the way to owning her own business. She graduated from West End Neighborhood House’s Launcher Entrepreneurship Program in December 2017.
The Launcher Program helped Tiffany refine her business plan, improve her financial literacy skills and set realistic goals.
“A goal is just a dream unless you have a plan,” she said.
The program also connected her with the Wilmington Neighborhood Land Bank Conservancy. She is currently in talks to obtain a property for a storefront right in her neighborhood at the corner of Conrad and Harrison Streets on Wilmington’s West Side.
The Culinary School is helping Tiffany polish her skills in the kitchen and obtain a ServSafe credential. She will intern at La Fia in Wilmington, a restaurant known for emphasizing local and sustainable ingredients.
“The training here is helping because they’re showing us how things are in real life,” she explained. “It’s teaching me to follow through. With recipes you have to follow each step and if you don’t it’s not going to come out right.”
Tiffany’s future business, Out of the Box, will feature healthy foods for take out.
“We will have healthy platters, smoothies and juices,” she explained. Everything will be fresh and “nothing that has more than a seven-day shelf life” will be offered.
Her menu will vary based on the season. Plans include fresh summer salads like steak and bruschetta and heartier meals and soups in the winter.
Tiffany plans to source all of her food locally. Already she has plans to source from Bright Spot Farm, a social enterprise created by West End Neighborhood House, and Powers Farm in Townsend.
“I want to make fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs available to the community I live in,” she said.
In addition to offering healthy foods, Tiffany will also make recipes available to her customers. “You can’t just give something to someone, you need to show them how to use it,” she explained. “In my research, the biggest part of why people don’t eat healthy is they don’t know how to prepare the item.”
Tiffany is proud of her community and wants to play an active role in improving it.
“West Side is the best side,” she said. “It is a poverty-stricken place, but living there and being a resident, I don’t feel like it is. It’s not as bad as people make it out to be because people don’t live here. There are a lot of good things, there are a lot of good people who live here.”
Healthy eating has not always been a priority for Tiffany.
“I like to eat. Period. I am a foodie. I will eat anything, try anything, make anything,” she said. “I was close to 300 pounds. I didn’t have any health problems, so I didn’t see a problem with it. No high blood pressure, no high cholesterol. I’m fat, but I’m cool.”
It wasn’t until Tiffany’s mother underwent chemotherapy and was diagnosed with diabetes that Tiffany started to change her diet.
“My mom was diagnosed with diabetes and had a hard time changing her diet. She was going to nutritionists. I just started finding ways to make healthy food taste good,” she explained.
“I don’t use salt when I cook, but I might use a ton of garlic to bring it flavor,” she said.
Tiffany meal preps for her mom and ensures that her kids are eating a healthy diet.
“I never took anything away from them. I showed them, if you eat this, this will make you feel better,” she said. “Eat things in moderation.”
Tiffany hopes to change her community’s relationship with healthy food one person at a time.
“In five years, I want to take kids who have never left the streets of Wilmington down to Townsend to Powers Farms and show them things they have never seen like how to garden and plant something and come back and watch it bloom,” she explained. “So they see if you start something, you finish it, because we quit jobs, we quit school because we don’t have anything around us telling us if you finish this is what can happen.”
Interested in finishing school and starting a new career? The next class of The Culinary School in Newark and Milford begins May 14. Click here to learn more and to apply!