Food Bank of Delaware graduates culinary students

Shown is the graduating class (l-r) Paula Watson of Seaford, Ellen Roland of Milford, Uriah Parker of Milford, Kelly McCallum of Seaford, Phillip Kizer of Dover and Michael Cook of Seaford. Kizer and Cook both received Culinary Excellence and Academic Excellence awards during the ceremony. BY STEVEN BILLUPS
May 4, 2014

The Culinary School at the Food Bank of Delaware graduated its second class at the Milford Brach April 15 in the Milford culinary classroom. The students went through the intensive 14-week course to build a foundation for a career in the restaurant business. Some of the students were already offered jobs, and others have plans for starting a business.

Under the instruction of Food Bank of Delaware Chef Instructor Tim Hunter and the guidance of Brenda Palomo, Culinary School program manager, the students spent the past 14 weeks developing their skills and passion for the culinary arts. From proper knife handling techniques to ServSafe certification and completing a two-week internship, the students prepared for entry-level jobs in the food industry.

Food Bank President and CEO Patricia Beebe praised the students and their families. “The successful graduates you see at today’s ceremony are supported by a community. They put in the work, but they are encouraged by our staff and members of the food service industry, like Chef Caputo. I have no doubt they will continue to work hard and build upon what they’ve learned here at The Culinary School,” she said.

Michael Cook, the class’s honor graduate, was pleased with this educational opportunity.

“The Food Bank of Delaware Culinary School at Milford has been a real blessing to me. I’ve learned a lot of new techniques, how to use the latest equipment, and gained knowledge of important culinary cornerstones," he said. "Just as important to me is that I’ve gained a lot of confidence here at school. Chef Tim and Brenda Palomo work very hard at instilling a positive ethos in all the students, and I really appreciated that.”

In addition to learning hands-on skills in the food bank’s industrial-sized kitchen, the students took field trips to food processing plants and urban food markets.

The mission of The Culinary School is twofold. First, students are taught skills that are highly desirable to employers in the food industry; and second, these newly developed skills have the potential to lead to jobs in the industry that provide job security and economic sustainability.

Students are referred to the program through the Criminal Justice Council, Delaware Department of Labor, Delaware Division of Vocational Rehabilitation and other community-based organizations.

The graduates are Paula Walston, Uriah Parker, Phillip Kizer, Michael Cook, Kelley McCallum and Ellen Roland.

Special awards include the following: Culinary Excellence - Michael Cook and Phillip Kizer, Academic Excellence - Michael Cook and Phillip Kizer, Most Improved - Ellen Roland, and Leadership Award - Ellen Roland.

For more information about the Food Bank of Delaware, go to or call 302-292-1305.

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