Educator Jeremy Jasper and Amy Hallifax

This year, high school chefs from three culinary programs were showcased at a themed event held at celebrity chef Brian Roland’s Venue Naples on April 24, 2018. The enthusiastic crowd of over 100 guests enjoyed an evening of delicious food paired with themes from Rodgers & Hammerstein musicals, played by the Steve DeLadurantey Trio.

Estero High School’s Chef Educator Jeremy Jasper and his students brought the theme of the musical South Pacific to tropical life, with crunchy vegan jackfruit cakes, tender teriyaki-soaked salmon, and Asian rice pudding. Kaitlyn Jacobson, Angel Jimenez, William Delphin. and Amy Hallifax worked the line as a well-practiced team. A skillfully carved edible centerpiece, created by Amy, stood out on the school’s display table (Amy had recently been honored with a special medal for a carving she did in a statewide Florida ProStart competition).

Gulf Coast High School’s Chef Instructor Becca Mahone and her “Oklahoma” themed team of Colton Pease, Ava Diamond, Jaden Mayer, Gabby Velez, Ashley Louis, Annabelle Zierhut, Alyssa Mosca, Gustave Arbois and Yuri Konica crafted BBQ sliders topped with home-made coleslaw, smokehouse baked beans served 50’s style in paper trays, and a traditional dirt cake dessert.

Lorenzo Walker Technical High School took “Carousel” as their themed challenge to craft authentic lobster rolls, “stuffies” – stuffed clams; duck, maple vinaigrette and walnut salad cups, and finished with luscious blueberry upside-down cake. Chef Instructor Geri Leonard and students Marlan Diaz, Lesly Brito, Alex Ventura, Keilin Stefan, Nicky Harbester and Doug Menley effortlessly fed a stream of happy diners.

StayInMay’s Trey Farmer III, Claudia Polzin, and Chrissy Forbes planned the event, with the Collier County Public Schools, the FGCU Resort & Hospitality Management Program, Venue Naples and CHEF recognized and thanked for their role as event sponsors and partners.

– By Ivan Seligman, CHEF Director, and Photographer