Culinary students cook for first responders 🎦
Posted on 06/18/2021
Male student organizes mac and cheese in catering pan

Wekiva High School’s Culinary Arts Magnet students showcased their cooking skills while giving back to the community. 

“It’s important to me to give back to the community. First responders do so much for us, so the least we could do is give back to them with this catering event,” Sharda Chowbay, sophomore culinary student, said. 


As part of a summer school enrichment camp, 25 culinary arts students planned and prepared a barbecue event to honor Apopka’s first responders. Collaborating with the City of Apopka’s Mayor’s Office and community volunteers, the students prepared the meal and the Apopka VFW provided the venue for volunteers to serve firefighters, police officers and healthcare staff. 

The students prepared:
• 250 gallons sweet tea
• 230 pounds pulled pork
• 90 gallons mac and cheese
• 75 pounds baked beans
• 45 pounds of chicken
• 25 pounds of coleslaw
• 25 pounds green beans

“The world revolves around food. It’s one of the simplest and basic ways to bring joy to people, because when you have a full stomach then you’re satisfied - especially with good food,” Nathan Marchman, junior culinary student, said.

Chef Christopher Bates, Program Director for the Culinary Arts Magnet Academy, was impressed with how efficiently and effectively the students organized the event within COVID-19 safety protocols. 

“Our students learn a sense of accomplishment in doing this that branches out into everything else that they might want to do. It’s not just about cooking; it’s about becoming a competent adult,” Chef Bates said.