Culinary School training sends student on promising career path

March 11, 2016

By Gwen Guerke, Communications Coordinator

Ask Anthony Leonardi about his work, and he’s all smiles!

Anthony is sous chef for Plate Catering, a division of SoDel Concepts corporate family.

He’s a graduate of the Food Bank of Delaware’s Culinary School at the Milford branch. In fact, in some people’s minds, he would be considered a fairly recent grad and also a success story.

Although he started working at Fish On! in Lewes on April 15, 2015, graduation ceremonies were held in May.

What a difference a year and an education can make in a person’s life!

Anthony is living example of the power of positive changes.

He signed up for The Culinary School while on work release at Sussex Correctional Institution. He had no prior culinary experience, but he recognized an opportunity.

“I jumped on it. I didn’t know what to expect, but I had an open mind,” he said.

The Culinary School is a 14-week program for unemployed, under-employed, people with disabilities, or ex-offenders who are looking for a career in the food service sector.

The program consists of 12 weeks in the classroom and a commercial kitchen. Students learn kitchen and life skills, such as financial literacy and resume’ writing, then they move into a paid two-week internship. Students also have the opportunity to become ServSafe® certified.

In addition to his own dedication, Anthony says he believes the strong support from his family contributed to his success.

In his current position, he works out of the kitchen at Fish On!, and he also goes to the Bellmoor Hotel in Rehoboth Beach each morning to prepare omelets for guests.

Although he works long hours, he says he likes what he is doing and he’s always learning.

“I like to make the filets with asparagus and mashed potatoes. I grew up on mashed potatoes,” said the Wilmington native.

“Eleven months ago, I was working at Meals on Wheels and taking out the trash. Now, I’m a sous chef. I’m learning inventory. I learned about different ingredients and little tricks to complement the plate,” he said.

“I owe a lot to the Food Bank. It not only affected my life. It helped my family and friends when I got my life straightened out. So they are not just helping out one person, but a lot of people.”

For more information about The Culinary School at the Food Bank of Delaware, please click here!

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