Ten members of The Culinary School at the Food Bank of Delaware celebrated their achievements today during a graduation ceremony for the 20th and 21st classes at the hunger-relief organization’s Milford branch.
The graduates were: Darryl Blackwell, Chevelle Cotton, Michele Mohr, Kolin Nemecek, Satwattie Ramsingh, Kaitlyn Schafer, Michael Taylor, Tony Thorne, Kenny Wayman and Shamarr Washington.
State Rep. Dave Wilson (R-Lincoln) was guest speaker for the event. “As you leave here today, be mindful of the fact that you have finished a program that has prepared you for the work world,” said Wilson. “You now have the skills and experience to be successful.”
The new graduates expressed gratitude for the opportunities they received during the 14-week program. Students learned knife skills, food safety and sanitation, a variety of cooking techniques and more. They also had the opportunity to cater events at Legislative Hall and Woodburn, the Governor’s residence.
All students have gained employment. Students are employed at Aramark at Delaware State University, The Clubhouse at Baywood, Buffalo Wild Wings, TGIFriday’s, Dover Downs, Abbott’s Grill, Main Street Café, Kyffin Grove and Sage Senior Living.
The Culinary School helped graduate Kaitlyn Schafer find her niche. “Now working at Baywood, I feel like I am where I belong,” she said. “I know what I am doing, and I feel like I am progressing the way I wanted.”
Special student awards included:
• Highest GPA and Best Restaurant Presentation: Kaitlyn Schafer
• Top Kitchen Final: Satwattie Ramsingh
• Perfect Attendance: Kolin Nemecek
Special surprise guest Congresswoman List Blunt Rochester closed out the ceremony and praised the students for their commitment to the 14-week program.
After the ceremony, graduates prepared and served guests a lunch buffet that included chow mein with chicken, country fried steak with country gravy, stuffed peppers with tomato sauce, shrimp scampi alfredo bake and more.
The Culinary School is part of Delaware Food Works, a workforce development initiative of the Food Bank of Delaware. Delaware Food Works consists of training in food service, warehousing and logistics, and agriculture. The mission of The Culinary School is two-fold. First students are taught skills that are highly desirable to employers in the food industry and second, these newly-developed skills have the potential to lead to jobs in the industry that provide job security and economic sustainability.
Students are referred to the program through Delaware Health and Social Services, Delaware Department of Labor, Delaware Division of Vocational Rehabilitation and other community-based organizations.