Chris Henry admits he wanted to attend culinary school since attending high school at Dickinson and Glasgow High Schools. “But I just never took the step to actually do it,” he explains.
He says he has probably had a thousand jobs since his first one at age 14.
“Every age of my life since 14 I had a different job,” he points out.
“Last time I went to school, I went to college,” Chris says. “It wasn’t for culinary, it was for business. I ended up dropping out.”
Looking for a career, Chris decided it was time to get serious about pursuing his desire to attend culinary school.
“I am just trying to stop working these jobs and actually have a career for once. Something I feel I would be comfortable with 10, 20, 30 years down the line,” he says.
He learned about The Culinary School from several individuals including alumnus, Larry Saunders.
“I like to cook so I decided to make that step,” he says. I was supposed to come when Larry did, but I didn’t have a night job; I only had a day job, and I had to quit the day job to come here. Once I found a night job – that’s when I finally signed up.”
Chris splits his time between attending class at The Culinary School during the day and working evenings and weekends at Papa John’s.
The 14-week training program at The Culinary School has been beneficial to Chris so far. He appreciates the opportunity to learn all of the basics. He says he is getting better at cooking by “paying attention closely to recipes, tasting and experimenting.”
Chris admits that cooking in a commercial kitchen is a lot harder than he originally thought.
“Being in it and on the outside looking in, it’s two different views. You’re like, ‘I think can do that.’,” he explains. ” When you actually get in the kitchen, it’s not as easy as it looks. It’s a lot harder, it’s a lot more work, it’s a lot harder work, you’re standing up the whole time, you have to eat as you go.”
But thankfully, Chefs Donnie Stephens, Jesse Santiago and Tim Hunter are imparting their knowledge to students.
“They teach me everything basically that they know,” Chris says. “They are just trying to help me be successful on my end, and so when I am out there left on my own, I will know what to do. You have to stand on your own two feet.”
Chris is currently interning at Two Stones Pub off Foulk Road in North Wilmington. There he is learning all of the basics – prep work, dish washing – and preparing simple meals like hot wings, fries and burgers.
Upon graduation, Chris hopes to land employment at Two Stones. He hopes in five years to “at least be a line cook with the experience I need to continue to succeed and be on my way to be a chef sometime within the next ten years.”
Chris encourages others interested in a career in food service to consider The Culinary School. “It’s a great opportunity and you’re going to benefit due to the fact that you know how to cook on your own… everybody has to eat to live,” he points out. “You are always going to be able to find a job as long as you know how to cook.”
Interested in a career in the food service industry? The next class of The Culinary School begins Monday, February 13 in both Newark and Milford. To learn more or to apply online, click here.