Dana Richards is passionate about cooking.
She heard about The Culinary School at the Food Bank of Delaware through a friend. Hoping to advance in the food service industry, Dana applied. For the past four years she has worked at Buffalo Wild Wings where she is a certified trainer and a server.
“There was a lot of information that I thought I knew, but I didn’t know,” she admits. The training that she is receiving at The Culinary School is helping at both Buffalo Wild Wings and in her home kitchen.
“There is so much more to it than I thought. It’s teaching me the basics of what I didn’t know,” she explains.
Dana works at Buffalo Wild Wings on the weekends and is also interning at Maiale, a local deli and salumeria in Wilmington. At Maiele she has the opportunity to work in both their deli and manufacturing warehouse where gourmet sausages are made. Dana credits The Culinary School for helping to get her foot in the door.
When Dana isn’t working, interning or attending class, she is home with her six children and granddaughter.
“My kids are my biggest supporters,” she says. “I am just showing them that you are never too old to learn, you can always come back to school if you have the drive and ambition. By me doing this, it is showing them that mom is really doing what she loves. Anything is possible.”
In addition to learning the skills needed in the kitchen, Dana is also finding the life skills curriculum at The Culinary School to be valuable.
For her, giving up is not an option. “There are going to be times when things aren’t going to work out as planned,” she says.
Dana credits Chef Instructor Donnie Stephens for helping her overcome some of those obstacles.
“There are days where I just want to quit,” she explains. “It’s frustrating and it’s not because of the classwork itself. It’s stuff outside of here. I am learning how to leave your outside problems outside and just focus on what’s important.”
Chef Donnie says that many of Dana’s fellow classmates look up to her. She says it’s an “honor” to learn alongside students with diverse backgrounds.
Despite obstacles, Dana says she leaves class each day with a smile on her face.
Dana is truly grateful for the opportunity to attend The Culinary School. “I have a passion for cooking. I love to do it. This is my opportunity,” she says.
While many of her fellow classmates aspire to owning their own food truck or restaurant, Dana hopes to make her dream of owning a house a reality. “I want to own my house first before I start to think about going into business myself,” she explains.
For others considering The Culinary School, Dana’s advice, “If you have a passion for cooking, I would tell you to go for it. If you have a dream, reach for the stars. The sky is the limit.”
Interested in enrolling in The Culinary School at the Food Bank of Delaware? The next class in both Newark and Milford begins Monday, February 13. Click here to learn more or to apply online.