Culinary training provides hope for mom and her children

April 9, 2024

Kyrie, a Rehoboth Beach resident, says she always had an interest in cooking, but never thought about a career in the food service industry until her mother saw a social media post about the Food Bank of Delaware’s Culinary School. Kyrie says she did a bit of research on our web site then thought “Let me go ahead and apply.”

That decision transformed her life from a stay-at-home mom to an award-winning cook, and now she is about a month away from graduating.

Although the 14-week program has not been without challenges, Kyrie adamantly states “This has been life changing.” As the mom of two children with autism — a daughter and son, ages 4 and 7 — she was naturally concerned about being away from home, about transportation and other issues.

Of course, her children’s health and safety top her list of responsibilities, she’s dealing with those on-going matters and rekindled a love of learning. Chef instructor Tish Badamshin has been encouraging and supportive, she said. “Chef Tish is amazing. She’s tough and stern, but she’s trying to make you successful. I’ve learned a lot,” Kyrie said, noting that she feels more confident dealing with kitchen challenges. “I’m less scared. It’s challenging, but I like it.”

The toughest challenges for Kyrie are outside the classroom. “I have to make sure I have someone helping with my children. My sister and my fiancé’ help with getting them on and off the bus. Even the school, their bus driver, my family has really pulled together for me,” she said.

Culinary School students share kitchen space with our Kitchen School students, and for Kyrie, the camaraderie contributes to a more positive experience. “Me, being a mom, it gives me a sense of hope. They are learning essential skills. Seeing those students fight to succeed everyday makes me smile. They will leave having a skill, being in a kitchen, able to fend for themselves,” she said.

And for this mom, who has dealt with depression while contemplating her own children’s future, she now has plans and dreams for her own. “I eventually want my own food truck. I even have a name, Major Eats, good quality food at low prices. Our society and our health depend on what you put in our bodies.”

Meanwhile, Kyrie is looking forward to her two-week paid internship. “Change is hard. I’m moving forward. I have structure in my life. I needed this to get out of my shell.”

As for the confidence-bolstering awards, Kyrie’s Apple Stuffed French Toast won first place – and $200 – in a Rapa Scrapple contest and her class’ team claimed top honors in a Chopped Challenge sponsored by the Delaware National Guard.

After graduation in early May, Kyrie hopes to find full-time employment in the culinary industry. “I want to be where I can use my education, and I can keep learning.” The next culinary classes start May 13. Click here to learn more or to register.

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