Culinary student regains confidence, finds employment at Dover Downs

February 7, 2017

Honie Cadle knows the feeling of being down and out, vulnerable and insecure, and she knows what it’s like to be thrown a lifeline.

She lost her job, a career in retail management, and sought help, specifically food assistance, at the state Health and Social Services office. Fortunately, while there she learned about the Delaware WONDER program. Delaware WONDER is a grant-funded pilot to provide SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly food stamps) recipients with employment training opportunities.

People can choose from three pathways: culinary arts, construction trades, and a general workforce entry education.

The Food Bank of Delaware’s Culinary School offers training for WONDER students through a 14-week program at both its sites, Milford and Newark.

Honie chose the culinary program. “I had to sign up for something, and I love to cook,” she said.

Like many Culinary School students, Honie quickly learned there were many things about cooking professionally she didn’t know.

“I have learned a lot, like knife skills, and I was aware of ServSafe®, but I didn’t know it,” she said.

Under the guidance of Chef Tish Badamshin, one of the Food Bank’s chef instructors, Honie started regaining her confidence and really enjoying the training experience.

The chef instructor also praised Honie’s work ethic.

“Once she realized the benefit for her, she spread her wings. She got really excited about learning new things,” Chef Tish said.

It’s obvious that the program boosted Honie’s confidence and self-esteem.

“I love creating magic in the kitchen, and now I’ve found new recipes to explore further,” she said, noting her favorites include jalapeño poppers and stuffed tomatoes.

In addition to the hands-on educational experience, she also gained employment in the commissary at Dover Downs Hotel & Casino.

“I’m the cook at Sweet Perks, and I like it a lot,” she said.

Not only is she preparing everything from brownies to sandwiches and pot pies, she’s got her eye on an exciting future.

Sweet Perks is located adjacent to Michele’s, Dover Downs’ fine dining and gourmet restaurant, so Honie has had the opportunity to meet chefs from that restaurant.

“I’m really interested in fine dining,” she said.

Honie graduated from The Culinary School on Jan. 31, and she said would recommend the training she received to anyone.

“I fell into it, and it’s been perfect. It’s given me a new lease on life. I’ve regained my confidence because I know now I’ve got someone in my corner. I get very emotional when I talk about the Food Bank,” she said.

For more information on the Food Bank of Delaware’s Culinary School, please click here.

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