Virtual ceremony celebrates Culinary School grads’ successes

June 29, 2020

Today, 10 students graduated from The Culinary School at Food Bank of Delaware’s Milford site. They are Anandi Bisram, JayMeeka Clark, Tyreikus Collick, Melissa Edge, Claudio Ferrario, Na’im Johnson, Robert Morrison, Jane Robinson, Katria Stevens, and Doreen Webb.

The Culinary School at the Food Bank of Delaware provides valuable job training to adults. The 14-week program includes 12 weeks (daytime hours) of hands-on training in basic and high-end kitchen skills, safe food handling and life skills. The 12-week training culminates with a two-week paid work experience at a food service company, restaurant or catering company. The school is a certified trade school by the Delaware Department of Education.

Under the direction of the Food Bank’s Chef Instructors Tim Hunter and Tish Badamshin students are introduced to a commercial kitchen, learn culinary mathematics, basic cooking techniques, presentation and baking skills, knife handling basics, and more.

For members of the 27th class, this Culinary School experience was different than their predecessors; their education was interrupted by a statewide shutdown triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The Covid-19 adjustments were new and different for the class and the staff,” said Food Bank of Delaware’s Chief Programs Officer Charlotte McGarry who declared the journey a success.

Even the ceremony, offered virtually and held outdoors at an on-site pavilion to accommodate social distancing, was different; students, about a dozen guests and staff all wore masks to an event that typically would be held inside for at least 50 guests and family members.

State Rep. Lyndon Yearick (R-34th), guest speaker, mentioned the challenges presented by learning the culinary trade remotely. He congratulated the new graduates because “(you) have a career you have a passion for,” he said.

Students completed their ServSafe ® exams by coming in one or two at a time; those who have completed the professional certification did so successfully, said Workforce Development Manager Ruthann Messick.

As students accepted their diplomas, they each thanked the staff for the training and opportunities they’ve received. “I got family out of this journey; I got more out of it than most,” said Na’im Johnson.

Both Katria Stevens and Doreen Webb told the audience they planned to continue their culinary educations at the college level.

To learn more about The Culinary School, please contact Lisa Grinnage at lgrinnage@fbd.org (302) 292-1305 ext. 265 (New Castle County) or contact Ruthann Messick (Kent and Sussex Counties) at rmessick@fbd.org or (302) 424-3301 ext. 107.

Congratulations, graduates!

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