Monday, June 24, 2024
TC Banner 1 (1)
TapRoom-2023-SJOBanner-728x90
hemisphere-orlando-international-airport-hyatt-regency-728 x 190 banner
point-orlando-728X90


Inside Second Harvest Food Bank’s Culinary Training Program – Graduate Highlight – Summer 2023

Did you know that Second Harvest Food Bank hosts a Culinary Training Program?

The Second Harvest Culinary Training Program is a 16-week continuing education opportunity offering adults facing barriers to employment with the culinary and life skills training needed to pursue a full-time sustainable career in the food industry.

Students enrolled in the program gain valuable “hands-on” experience learning in our teaching kitchen during their lab time with our team of award-winning chefs.

We spoke with three recent graduates of the program to get their insights and also future plans – including Asjah Hemmings, Breanna Tippins, and Penielle Hyppolite. Read on to learn more about their journey!

Penielle Hyppolite (AKA Penny)

Penny is a 20-year-old Haitian American female from Greenville, SC, and is the youngest of 7.

How did you hear about the program?

After graduating high school, I was looking for a culinary school. The only thing was, I needed a school that was affordable, either located in SC or FL, and didn’t have a long program. I then searched up “Culinary training programs in Central Florida” on Google, and Second Harvest came up. I thought it was a scam and that there was a catch because it was marketed as a completely free program until I called, and it was actually true!

What inspired you to pursue culinary arts as a career?

Growing up, I was always in the kitchen, either learning new dishes from my dad, washing the dishes, cooking, or eating. Being in that setting and cooking with my dad really grew a love between me and the kitchen. Seeing what I can create, with or without a recipe, inspired me to see how far I could go with the skills that I have in the culinary industry.

What was the most challenging aspect of your culinary school experience?

In my opinion, the most challenging aspect of my experience was keeping my “at-home” knowledge away from the kitchen. It was hard to keep myself from adding the spices and ingredients that I would at home to every recipe. But eventually, the habit broke because the Chefs did a great job at reminding me to STICK TO THE RECIPE!

Can you describe your favorite dish that you learned to cook during your culinary program?

My favorite dish was the Diri Djondjon, Poul Fri ak Sòs, Griot, Bannann Peze, and Pikliz. Which is Black Mushroom Rice, Fried Chicken and Sauce, Pork, Fried Plantains, and Haitian Pickled Vegetable Relish. It was my favorite because we didn’t have to follow a recipe; we all knew what we were doing!

How do you plan to continue developing your culinary skills after graduation?

As a prep cook, I plan to continue developing my culinary skills by seeking out opportunities to learn from experienced chefs in professional kitchens. I will also continue to watch cooking shows and experiment with new recipes in my spare time. Additionally, I may consider enrolling in more culinary classes or workshops to further enhance my skills and knowledge. I believe that continuous learning and practice are crucial to becoming a skilled and successful cook, and I am committed to pursuing these opportunities to further my career in the culinary industry.

What are your long-term career goals in the culinary industry?

My long-term career goals are to become a private/personal chef, and I may consider a catering business. My definite and biggest long-term goal is to open a successful Haitian restaurant in the heart of Greenville, South Carolina.

What are some of your favorite moments from the program?

My favorite moments were getting into the kitchen and watching a meal be prepared from beginning to end by a group of women that barely knew each other but were able to work together to prepare a meal from a cuisine we had little to no experience with.

All the fun moments we had and the laughs we shared, even with the Chefs and the staff.

And last but not least, the last meal/cuisine we prepared, Haitian cuisine.

Seeing the class use the skills and safety rules, working as a well-oiled machine, using our time management wisely, and most importantly the confidence in our kitchen knowledge, allowed us to prepare a flavorful, well-presented meal that put a big smile on everyone’s (including all the staff and Chef’s) faces.

Breanna Tippens

How did you hear about the program?

I heard about Second harvests program from my mom, a family member went through the course a couple years ago so my mom thought it would be good for me.

What inspired you to pursue culinary arts as a career?

My passion for cooking and the joy I felt from others genuinely enjoying my food, I can say that’s something that inspired me to pursue Culinary Arts. It really is an art and I just love that I’m able to pour myself into my cooking and you really get a taste of who I am.

What was the most challenging aspect of your culinary school experience?

The most challenging aspect of my experience, was just starting school and getting myself into the program. I was finally starting the process and getting on track with what I want to do with my future, after I did that it was easy for other things to fall into place.

Can you describe your favorite dish that you learned to cook during your culinary program?

There are too many dishes to choose from, but I will say the dish I was most impressed with and recreated it at home for my family, was the Moussaka. It’s essentially eggplant lasagna with a creamy bechamel sauce, it was one of those dishes that I was nervous wouldn’t come out correctly. Making a long story short, it was quite delicious even though the bechamel didn’t set how it was intended.

How do you plan to continue developing your culinary skills after graduation?

I am continuously developing my culinary skills, working in the restaurant at the Hyatt it provides me the opportunity to learn new things, sharpen my mind, and be able to develop new skills that I need to take me further in my career as well as keeping what I know in tact.

What are your long-term career goals in the culinary industry?

My long term career goals is to be able to start opening my own restaurant and opening up my influence to the world. I’m excited about the journey and the steps to get there, I know it won’t be easy but the rewards will be great.

What are some of your favorite moments from the program?

I enjoyed the program as a whole. It really helped me to be able to focus on one thing and accomplish something and by doing that it made paths for me to step into my career. The program really is a hidden gem, the connections you’ll be able to make and to see the potential of where you can go it was a blessing for me.

What do you plan to do now?

My plans now is to continue to do what I’m doing. I’m working at the Hyatt Regency on an internship alongside people who are equally as passionate about what they do. I’m going in the direction I want to go and can’t wait to get to the destination.

Asjah Hemmings

What inspired you to pursue culinary arts as a career?

My grandmother. Watch her cooking and seeing how her cooking brought everyone together always me happy and made me want to do the same

What was the most challenging aspect of your culinary school experience?

Adjusting to a big and professional kitchen. Cooking at home is very different so coming into the kitchen was a bit overwhelming but I adjusted

Can you describe your favorite dish that you learned to cook during your culinary program?

My favorites dish that I made was a apple streusel muffin. It was a moist sweet muffin with a slight tartness from the apples and the crunch of the brown sugar crumble on top creates the most perfect combo

How do you plan to continue developing your culinary skills after graduation? What are your long-term career goals in the culinary industry?

I just plan on continuing to practice and keep learning and gaining more knowledge. I want to work my way up to sous chef or even executive. I wanna be able to spread my knowledge amongst everyone if possible. I plan to work my way up the culinary scale while still learning while taking care of myself and living life the best I can,

What are some of your favorite moments from the program?

Some of my favorite moments was making jerk chicken for the first time, being in the kitchen and working together with my peers, and working along 3 awesome chefs

Congratulations, graduates!

Applications are being accepted for the following session:

  • Session Dates: February 12, 2024 – May 31, 2024
    Application Deadline: February 5, 2024
  • Session Dates: May 6, 2024 – August 23, 2024
    Application Deadline: April 29, 2024
  • *start dates are subject to change*

Eligibility

  • Minimum 18 years of age
  • Authorized to work in the United States
  • Must reside in the central Florida area
  • Have experienced financial instability (unemployment, low wage, government assistance, etc.) during the last 12 months
  • Must not possess a criminal history involving arson, sexual battery or violent crimes. All other criminal activity records will be considered on a case-by-case basis
  • Demonstrate an enthusiasm for and willingness to commit to the Program and food service industry by obtaining a job full-time in Culinary upon completion of the program
  • Must be able to attend classes for 16 weeks, Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. in person at Second Harvest Food Bank, 411 Mercy Dr. Orlando FL 32805




438079497_833087138853006_5843478486889334625_n
300 x 250 banner








Must Read

Related Articles