Summer program allows students to explore the vast culinary world close to home

September 7, 2016

By Gwen Guerke, Communications Coordinator

Seven students, ranging in age from 17-21, had an opportunity to visit the world of commercial food sourcing and preparation through the Culinary Career Exploration Summer Program (CCESP).

The program started July 5 and finished on Aug. 25; it was funded by Pre-Employment Transition Services through the state Department of Labor’s Division of Vocational Rehabilitation.

img_1928The Food Bank of Delaware’s Milford branch hosted the students and provided transportation for regional field trips that allowed them see firsthand where and how their food is grown, and also the path it takes from farm to restaurants.

“It’s a great way to explore the culinary world, for them to see it’s not just in the kitchen,” said the Food Bank’s Executive Chef Tim Hunter.

The curriculum included classroom instruction, kitchen experience, plus visits to farms and food processors.

Students assisted with preparation for an upscale, yet rustic, Farm to Fork dinner to benefit the Food Bank, and they also helped with a Sunset Cruise in July.img_2011

Field trips, planned around an educational objective, included a visit to Haas Butcher Shop near Dover.

“They learned the various cuts of meat, then came back and had to properly butcher a chicken and name the cuts,” said Ruthann Messick, culinary school manager.

Other trips included a visit to Dover Downs Hotel & Casino where students toured fine dining and casual sites.

“They got to see the diversity of kitchens, and even a couple of our former students who completed the traditional culinary school,” Messick said.

And of course they travelled to a variety of local farms.

“We went to Fair Hope Farms in Greenwood. They are both dairy and chicken. The students learned the process for milk becoming food. One fact that they could relate to was the milk from this farm supplies the cheese company that supplies Domino’s, Papa John’s and Pizza Hut. They thought it was cool that when they eat pizza from there, that they know where the milk came from for the cheese,” she added.

These students also successfully completed the ServSafe Food Handler certification, basic credentials that are needed for working in the culinary field.

Messick said the next CCESP class will be held here at the Food Bank’s Milford branch in the summer of 2017.

For more information on the Food Bank’s culinary programs, please click here.

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