The Food Bank of Delaware’s Culinary School is giving Stephanie Woomer not only new career opportunities, but also a fresh start in life.
Woomer moved back to Delaware from Maine in September to help with her family. She decided to become part of the community here, and when she went online to sign up as a Food Bank volunteer, she discovered information about The Culinary School. That find was the first step toward a new career for this lady.
The Culinary School offers 14 weeks of basic culinary training. The program includes 12 weeks (day-time hours) of hands-on training in basic and high-end kitchen skills, safe food handling and life skills. The 12-week training culminates with a two-week paid internship at a food service company, restaurant or catering company. The school is a certified trade school by the Delaware Department of Education.
The mission of The Culinary School is two-fold. First students are taught skills that are highly desirable to employers in the food industry and second, these newly developed skills have the potential to lead to jobs in an industry that provide job security, career advancement, and economic sustainability.
Under the direction of the Food Bank’s Executive Chef Tim Hunter and Chef Instructor Tish Badamshin students are introduced to a commercial kitchen, learn culinary mathematics, basic cooking techniques, presentation and baking skills, knife handling basics, ServSafe® food safety skills and more.
Like many of the students, Woomer said she had plenty of experience cooking at home for her family, but hadn’t considered a culinary career until she visited the Food Bank’s web site, www.fbd.org.
Although she had retail experience and had worked in an assisted living facility, the time had come when Woomer said she decided she was ready for something new.
“I have always loved cooking,” she said, and she especially enjoys baking. She is also prepared to learn how to do things in a professional setting. Woomer said she’s found mastering knife skills a bit challenging.
“I’m not perfect yet, and I’m still a bit hesitant,” she added.
But she is really drawn to learning more about becoming a pastry chef.
“I know with cakes you have to be precise, and you have to have patience,” she said, and she says she is a patient person.
Woomer says she also appreciates that she can learn new skills close to home.
“I have been telling other people, family and friends. A lot of people didn’t know about it, that there’s a culinary school here, and you don’t have to drive to Wilmington,” she said.
And there’s a bonus, she didn’t expect: “Doing this class is building my confidence. I look forward to it.”
Woomer will graduate with her class on Wednesday, May 2. New culinary classes start in both Milford and Newark on Monday, May 14. For more information on how to register, visit www.fbd.org/the-culinary-school.