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Congratulations Graduates of the 42nd Culinary Training Program!

It was a tough winter for the culinary class, with challenges getting to and from the FoodBank during bad weather, but these three outstanding candidates, Joan Gaspar, Sandy Pensis, and Myolcie Pierre, made it to the end and successfully completed the 13-week Culinary Skills Training Program, as well as received ServSafe Food Protection Manager and Red Cross CPR Certifications.

The curriculum included a trip to the International Restaurant and Foodservice Show in New York City where they had a chance to cook side by side with famous chefs, as well as a job shadowing program hosted by Joe Leone’s and others.

The Class Valedictorian, Joan Caspar, said it best,

“Going to culinary school was something I always wanted to do my entire life. I remember as a youngster cooking with my Grandmom on our coal stove…those were some of the happiest times in my life. Being back in the kitchen for me is almost like stepping back in time only with modern equipment and so much more attention paid to Food Preparation, Sanitation, Presentation and so on. Finally at age 61, I was accepted into this amazing program. Wow! And Yesterday I was told I am the Valedictorian. I don’t have the words to describe what a great culinary program the FoodBank has afforded me. To top it off, I could not have asked for better instructors. Chefs Ray Cattley and Michelle Steffens were wonderful instructors, as well as other experts, which Ray arranged to teach us baking skills and nutrition.   We became CPR and SaveServe certified during our time in class, and attended a host of interesting food related field trips. Debbie Palacios was a complete inspiration to all of us.   We met on a weekly basis as she guided us through the employment process in a fun and informative way. In short, the entire experience at the FoodBank was truly amazing and I still cannot believe all that we have accomplished in 3 months. Finally Chef Ray, with his many contacts had arranged for each of us to have a positive commercial kitchen experience to get a feel for the business. We went to different locations shadowing with other chefs and culinary experts. I now realize what I suspected all along…that I belong in a kitchen environment where I am always learning something new and truly enjoy.   Thanks to the FoodBank I am headed in that direction!”

Congratulations Graduates and best of luck! The next Culinary Skills Training Class begins the week of May 25th.

Photo Credit: Lori Sayde