Culinary training adds professionalism for at-home cook

February 16, 2022

Three years ago, Cynthia Neal became ill and was no longer able to work.

“If I had never gotten ill, I’d still be working,” she points out.

After learning online about The Culinary School at the Food Bank of Delaware, she decided it was time to pursue a new opportunity.

She entered the program with cooking experience, but now in week 10 of the 14-week training program, Cynthia is learning so much.

“I’ve cooked for a long time,” she says. “You can cook at home, but coming here shows me the proper way of cooking.”

Twelve years ago, Cynthia rented a place in North Wilmington where she cooked for senior citizens. And before she got sick in 2019, she was cooking and serving food at MeadowWood Behavioral Health Hospital in New Castle.

Under the instruction of Chef Ron Roll, Cynthia is learning about proper food temperatures, how to properly hold a knife, the five mother sauces, cooking techniques like grilling, sautéing, broiling, sanitization, and much more.

“We are learning the correct ways of doing things,” she says.

In addition to kitchen skills, Cynthia says the life skills training has also been incredibly helpful.

“It’s [life skills training] awesome,” she points out. “I believe that we learn so much – customer service, working with people – it’s an awesome program to go along with the cooking side.”

Cynthia loves the time she spends learning in the kitchen alongside her classmates.

As a more mature student, Cynthia says, “Being able to give some of my knowledge to the younger generation. It’s wonderful. It’s a blessing.”

She says she doesn’t have a favorite recipe, ” I just love cooking. Period. I love trying new recipes.”

The next culinary class begins March 28 at the Food Bank of Delaware in Newark and Milford. Cynthia advises interested students to apply for the free training. “I believe that if you have a love for cooking and you have the opportunity to come here, it’s a great opportunity to get into,” she explains.

To learn more about The Culinary School at the Food Bank of Delaware and to apply online for the next free training program, click here.

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