Like many current classmates and past graduates, Jameel Webster learned about The Culinary School at the Food Bank of Delaware thanks to a flyer hanging on the bulletin board at the Plummer Center, the Department of Corrections work release center in Wilmington.
Prior to being incarcerated, Jameel worked several janitorial jobs, but he admits that life has always been rough.
Despite hardship, thanks to The Culinary School at the Food Bank of Delaware, he has a fresh outlook on life and looks forward to his release in a few months.
“It’s keeping me out of the streets,” he explains. “That’s all I knew was the streets, it’s giving me a passion for what I want to do.”
Jameel hopes that by living on the straight and narrow, his son will follow suit.
“My son is following a similar path,” he explained. “I tell him don’t be like your dad, get out of the streets, go to school, graduate, listen to your mom. He is not listening right now, because I am not there.”
The Culinary School is providing Jameel the guidance and support he needs in order to obtain employment upon release. He is currently interning at El Diablo Burritos on Main Street in Newark and hopes the position will become full-time.
His newly-developed knife skills are helping with the day-to-day work at El Diablo. Jameel does a lot of prep work such as cutting chicken and steak for burritos.
In addition to knife skills, he says that learning to make mother sauces, how to de-bone a chicken, safe temperatures for food handling and other food safety knowledge have been very beneficial.
In five years, Jameel hopes to be a “great chef,” but for now he says he is focused on obtaining full-time employment, taking care of his kids, finding his own place, staying positive and getting off probation.
For those in similar situations, Jameel’s advice, “Go in there, give it your all, pay attention. You are going to get something out of it.”
Ready for a fresh start? The next class of The Culinary School at the Food Bank of Delaware in Newark and Milford begins Monday, February 13. To learn more or to apply online, please click here.