Kitchen School’s first class moves toward job placement
December 7, 2022
The Kitchen School, one of the Food Bank of Delaware’s newest programs, is preparing adults with disabilities for a career in the food service industry.
Specialized Training Program Manager Tinishia Sanders said these students are high school and adults looking for additional skills that prepare them for entry-level kitchen positions. Two support staff members, Bendu Collins and Antoine Brumble, assist Food Bank Chef Instructor Ron Roll in our professional kitchen at the Newark site. This 12-week class started on Oct. 25.
These five students represent the first cohort of the disability-inclusive training designed to provide employees for the food-service sector, a piece of the economy hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Training runs from 9 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. During the first six weeks, students develop hands-on kitchen skills: peeling and food prep – such as making soups, salads, and baking, plus cleaning and sanitation. They also learn ServSafe®, the industry standard for certified safe food handling.
Students took a group field trip for a behind-the-scenes tour of a ShopRite grocery store and JPMorgan Chase, two potential future employers.
So far, there have been lots of opportunities for the students to show off their talents! In December, they served guests who attended the L.O.G.I.C. graduation and prepared a $2 pasta buffet for Discover Cafe customers featuring vegetable lasagna, baked ziti, meatballs and garlic bread. Chef Instructor Ron Roll instructed the students on food safety and how to serve customers. There were nothing but smiles as students plated dishes for café customers.
These hands-on training opportunities prepare students for the next six weeks of their training; it will consist of on-the-job training with a job coach.
“After six weeks, we say ‘Where would you like to work?’, “said Sanders, noting that students may identify the type of work they want to do and review their employment goals. If they need or want more training, the Food Bank partners with families and other agencies to provide extended support.
Sanders also notes that there is some flexibility built into the scheduling in order to provide more instruction, as needed. “It’s very hands-on. They also work with traditional culinary students – those enrolled in The Culinary School. They help with prepping orders, catering, graduations. It’s an inclusive environment; they all do the same thing.”
Once the student is employed, program staff maintains contact for one year providing assistance, matching skill sets, and offering support.
Registration is now being accepted for the next session in the Food Bank’s Newark kitchen. Class will meet from February 13, 2023 through May 5, 2023. The first Milford class will start in April. Students are required to have a documented disability.
To learn more about registration for the next cohort, click here or email Specialized Training Coordinator Bendu Collins at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Check out some pictures from class, including today’s pasta buffet!