Focused: Culinary School student aims toward independence, success

December 12, 2022

Hayden Woods had to deal with some unexpected setbacks while attending our culinary training program in Milford. But those did not deter him! In the middle of the 14-week program, this Frederica resident got the flu and missed two weeks of class.

The Culinary School is a 14-week training program that’s certified through the Delaware Department of Education. The program includes 12 weeks of classroom instruction and hands-on experience onsite before completing two weeks of a paid internship in the food-service industry. Students are prepared to enter careers in the culinary field with an opportunity to complete ServSafe® training as well.

Hayden is now completing class work while working at his internship at Meding’s Seafood Restaurant near Frederica.

He’s focused on meeting all the requirements needed to graduate in a Dec. 21 ceremony with his classmates.

“Cooking is my passion; it has been since 7th grade,” Hayden said. He loves to make tacos at home, and describes them as “simple, delicious and spicy.” And he notes that a “put-together burger ” – grilled, of course – is another specialty.” A family friend, Chef Ron, encouraged him to sign up  for the Food Bank’s culinary school, and Hayden has never looked back.

“It’s been amazing,” Hayden said. Why? He enumerates a list of positives: “Respect. Chef Tish – chef instructor Tish Badamshin – has helped me a lot. I’ve made new friends. I’m learning,” he said. “And Chef Tim too. I really enjoyed going to events where we actually helped. It was amazing – being there with the lights, the energy.”

He also enjoys his internship at Meding’s, and not just because it’s close to home. “I’m part-time, training. I do whatever they need me to do. I’ve been frying and cleaning around. They told me it gets very busy in the summer. I like it a lot. It’s a good environment with a lot of positivity.”

Hayden has set goals for the future. “I want to be successful. First, I want to be able to maintain and keep my own place. I have to learn to save half my paycheck. I know I have to learn life skills, but I understand what I have to do.” After all, he already has his future apartment picked out, and he wants to buy a new car too.

Click here to learn more about The Culinary School and the Food Bank’s other workforce development programs. The next Culinary School class starts in January.

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