Eric Roberts is a man of few words, but he’s focused, very focused, on his work.
Eric is lead line cook at Lefty’s Alley’s & Eats, an upscale destination bowling alley, arcade and restaurant near Lewes, and he also cooks at the Crooked Hammock in Lewes.
This 2016 graduate of the Food Bank of Delaware’s Culinary School in Milford started the 14-week program unemployed, but when he finished he was beginning a new career.
“It was life changing, and I tell people about it all the time. I tell people about the culinary school experience. I also had fun, and I made friends for life,” he said. “I just love to cook, and this was the next step: to become a chef.”
At Lefty’s, Eric took a very short break from this post in the kitchen, to explain his responsibilities. There’s more to his job than cooking. He manages the kitchen, and in order to do that he’s had to learn all the work stations, process orders, and prepare daily specials. And in a commercial kitchen, there’s always more to do, but Eric doesn’t have time to talk.
He learned these hands-on skills in the food bank’s industrial-sized kitchen and in the classroom. Students also participate in a two-week internship, paid for by the Food Bank of Delaware. Eric’s internship was in Franky’s at Dover Downs Hotel & Casino.
The mission of The Culinary School is two-fold. First students are taught skills that are highly desirable to employers in the food industry. They graduate with a ServSafe ® certification, a recognized professional credential. 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 the Criminal Justice Council, Delaware Department of Labor, Delaware Division of Vocational Rehabilitation and other community-based organizations.
Students interested in applying for future classes, may sign up online at http://www.fbd.org/the-culinary-school/. The next class in Milford starts on Sept. 25.