Despite past mistakes, Tony Ferrell is focused on creating a better life for both himself and his five-year-old daughter.
He learned about The Culinary School at the Food Bank of Delaware through his case worker at Delaware Social Services. The Culinary School at the Food Bank of Delaware is one of three tracks offered through Delaware WONDER (Work Opportunity Networks to Develop Employment Readiness), an employment and training program led by Delaware Health and Social Services (DHSS) Division of Social Services (DSS), which administers the SNAP Program in Delaware. It offers targeted career tracks in construction, culinary arts and manufacturing and broad-based job placement.
Tony decided that the culinary track was perfect for him since he’s been working in fast food since 2009. “I figured, ‘why not go ahead and get my certification?’,” he said.
Prior to that, he was incarcerated. Tony gained some experience by working in the prison kitchen.
Since starting at The Culinary School 13 weeks ago, Tony says his perspective on life has changed.
He lives in New Castle with his daughter, aunt and uncle.
“Right now I do a lot… I go home and cook dinner for my family, I make sure everyone eats and I get my daughter ready for school,” he said.
Tony admits it wasn’t always like that. Previously, his daughter’s mother did the majority of cooking and care taking.
He is working hard to make a good life for his family. In addition to attending class at The Culinary School, he is also interning at AstraZeneca in the corporate cafeteria. It’s hard work, but Tony says it’s worth it.
“I go from six in the morning until 8 p.m.,” he pointed out. “I’m on my feet all day.”
Tony hopes his commitment pays off with full-time work at AstraZeneca once he graduates on February 2. “I tell them how much I appreciate them for letting me have an internship. I will come to work and do what I need to do,” he said.
Tony says his favorite foods to prepare are soul food like fish, candied yams, macaroni and cheese and collared greens. The Culinary School has even introduced new foods to Tony’s palette. For his mid-term practicum he prepared salmon, fried potatoes and acorn squash. He admits that he never had acorn squash before.
“Every day I learn something new,” he said.
Knife skills, proper food temperature and food safety have been incredibly valuable to him.
In addition to the kitchen skills, Tony is learning valuable life skills at The Culinary School. “Be on time, respect people, never give up, keep trying,” he says.
For students considering The Culinary School, Tony advised,” This is where they need to be. Everybody is looking for someone who knows how to cook.”
Interested in a career in the food service industry? The next class of The Culinary School in both Newark and Milford begins Monday, February 13. To learn more or to apply online, click here.