Culinary Student Spotlight: Gennie Tolliver

April 18, 2016

By: Lindsey Hargett, Communications Intern

Gennie Tolliver did not love her job or feel passionate about it, and she was tired of working for other people, so on February 29, 2016; she enrolled in The Culinary School at the Food Bank of Delaware. Tolliver had worked as a social worker for the past five years and enrolled at Wilmington University, but did not find the right fit and ended up at The Culinary School.

“I have always cooked on the side, but I wanted more out of it, I want to make a career out of it,” said Tolliver.

The Culinary School was a perfect fit for Gennie. The 14-week training program prepares students for entry-level positions in the food service industry. A certified trade school by the Delaware Department of Education, the program offers hands-on training in basic and high-end kitchen skills, safe food handling and life skills.

Gennie’s favorite aspect of class so far is the amount of information she is learning. She laughed while answering and said that she did not know as much as she thought she did!

Gennie has learned several useful skills so far, like how to cut up a whole chicken, but one of the most useful skills she has learned is knife work. She said having proper cutting skills is so important.

“They offer so much diversity in the program we [the students] learn so much,” she said. “I really enjoy learning about the history of the food we are making and knowing where it came from just adds something.”

The Culinary School has given her the opportunity to meet other people in the food industry and be part of a team she said, even in the short amount of time she has been here. Initially when Tolliver enrolled in this 14-week training program, it was to get her ServSafe® certification, but the classes have taught her so much more than she was anticipating.

“ServSafe certification is such an important thing to have,” she pointed out. “But you hardly see it around, so I think it will make me stand out.”

In five years, Gennie hopes to be running her own bistro. She would like to own a farm and use that food to feed people delicious home-grown meals from her own crops.

When asked about her favorite thing to cook, Gennie laughed and said, “I can make a mean kale salad, but honestly, whatever I am making at that moment in time, is my favorite thing to cook. I just really get into what I am doing at the moment.”

Ready for a career change? Click here to learn more about The Culinary School at the Food Bank of Delaware

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