The Kitchen School’s benefits exceed student’s expectations

July 5, 2023

When Victoria Rust dove into a random online search “to see what was out there,” see discovered the Food Bank of Delaware’s Kitchen School. The rest, as the saying goes, is history. This Ellendale resident enrolled in The Kitchen School’s first class in Milford.

The Kitchen School’s 12-week curriculum has been developed to include group instruction and individualized training in our two Culinary School professional kitchens – one in Newark and one in Milford.

Students learn professional kitchen skills, earn a ServSafe® Food Handler Certification, and receive instruction about employer expectations. They also receive an individualized plan needed to enter a workplace, including transportation options.

Additionally, Kitchen School staff provides support for students and employers one year after graduation.

Just a little over two months later, Victoria is happily immersed in an on-the-job internship at Grain on the Rocks restaurant inside the Lewes Ferry Terminal. She’s paid to do essential prep work, and she’s quickly mastering saute’ responsibilities as well.

What did she like about The Kitchen School? “Everything,” she said. “Chef Shalisa was so sweet. She spent one-on-one time with each person.”

Like her classmates, Victoria relished the opportunity to make new friends, and through daily classes, she met a new best friend, LaShaunda. LaShaunda, a Milford resident, is deaf, and had a professional American Sign Language interpreter accompany her to each class.

LaShaunda is also working at Grain, but no longer needs an assigned interpreter because Victoria taught herself – with LaShaunda’s coaching – to sign. Victoria said she easily learned the language because she was somewhat familiar with signing at her church plays. “It was not heard to learn,” she added.

Meanwhile, she and LaShaunda hang out every day, and they enjoy one another’s families as well.

No doubt, their families and friends will celebrate their accomplishments when they graduate on July 13.

While a date has not been set for the start of the fall class in Milford, a class will start at our Newark site on Sept. 5.

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