Howard Bailey says attending culinary school has been his dream since he was 15.
But he didn’t know how much it would actually save his life.
While on work release at the Delaware Department of Correction’s Plummer Center, Howard learned about the opportunity to attend training at The Culinary School at the Food Bank of Delaware.
He was released from the Plummer Center in March 2016, but wasn’t able to pursue his dream immediately.
After working a job that involved cleaning up university dormitories and buildings, he decided to look back into The Culinary School.
This past fall he accepted a spot in the 45th class of The Culinary School at the Food Bank of Delaware.
“This has been my dream since I was 15,” he said. “Even when I went to jail, I used to see the commercials for Le Cordon Bleu and The Restaurant School. I would just think, ‘that was for me.'”
Howard will graduate with his fellow classmates on February 2 and has learned a great deal from his training.
One of the most important lessons learned so far? Patience.
“This course teaches you patience. Patience not only in the kitchen, but in life. That’s one of the many life sills that you need to lead a successful productive life,” he said.
Howard is soaking up all that he can in both the kitchen and classroom. “All of it is new to me,” he pointed out. “It’s all a new experience. I enjoy everything. This is wonderful.”
Howard’s hard work in the kitchen is paying off. He is interning at 8th & Union Kitchen in Wilmington and describes it as “perfect,”
“I love it,”he added.
He credits The Culinary School with changing his perspective on life.
“I wake up in the morning happy now,” he said.
Without The Culinary School, Howard said he would “probably still be looking for a job with a whole bunch of idle time.”
He added, “There’s no telling what that would be spent doing. I really believe this has saved me. It gives me something to look forward to.”
With graduation just a few weeks away, Howard is focused on getting a job. “It doesn’t matter as long as I get a job in this field, then that’s pretty much all I am looking for,” he said.
The next class of The Culinary School begins on February 13, and Howard highly recommends the program.
“If you enjoy cooking, definitely come here,” he advised. “They teach you the proper tools and the proper way to do things. Not only that, it’s a fun experience. The chef instructors are great… the classmates are great.”
Howard sums up his experience with these closing words, “Here at the Food Bank of Delaware, we are one knife, one fork, one spoon – which means we all work together as one team, one unit to get the common goal and get it done.”
Interested in pursuing a career in the food service industry? The next class of The Culinary School in both Newark and Milford begins, Monday, February 13. Click here to learn more or to apply online.