Chef Manny Washington—Orlando Fire Department’s finest chef

“Chef Manny” 11141778_377244982472413_4444921235404832610_nhas been cooking since he was eight. He started with desserts–in fact, the first thing he learned to cook was southern staple sweet potato pie. Next he graduated to sides, and finally to main dishes.

He learned from his grandmother, then his mother and his father, also a firefighter (in Miami).

He’s best known for his appearance on national cooking shows, which he’s been doing for only a year. (Since August, 2015, when he first appeared on Food Network’s Cutthroat Kitchen.) The one thing that scared him the most about competition cooking? Plating. “Firefighters don’t require plating; they just want good tasting food.”

With all this cooking, you’d think he majored in something culinary, but Washington, it turns out, is kind of a science geek. From Valencia, he got an AS in Emergency Medical Services. From there, he went on to UCF, where he got a BS in Chemistry Education, with a minor in Emergency Management. “My favorite class was Organic Chemistry I with Dr. Eric Crumpler (west campus). By far one of the hardest classes I have ever taken, but I love how I get to take an acid naturalization and apply it to work.”

He is an engineer/paramedic with the Orlando Fire Department, stationed at Fire Station 1 (downtown). mc7_706-16-15-lobsterelim_0313_hires2He works on the Hazardous Materials team, which works with everything from gas spills to weapons of mass destruction.

How does he balance his career as a firefighter with this new “career” as a part time gourmet chef? Due to their schedule (24 hours on, 48 off) he has the time to do live food demos, private dinners, and even cook for other fire stations nationwide. His favorite thing to cook is skirt steak with chimichurri sauce, white rice, black beans and caramelized plantains. Did we mention he’s from Miami?

You can follow Chef Manny at @chefmannyfd on Facebook, Instagram, Twittter and YouTube.

 

 

Kenneth Bourgoin–a taste of greatness

This year, the Hunton Brady Architects Endowed Chair in Hospitality Management allowed a select few of the Culinary Art StIMG_6588udent Association club to attend the National Restaurant Association meeting in Chicago.

The show hosts purveyors from all over the world. There are about 65,000 attendees to the show and it takes about 2-3 days to see all of it. “It is like a food and beverage theme park,” says Bourgoin.

Sometimes, the trip alone is the farthest a student has ever travelled, and that can be challenging in and of itself. At the show they are networking, sharing education programs, involved in chef demos and learning about how the number one private employer hospitality industry works.

The students have to earn points doing volunteer houIMG_6595rs within and outside Valencia College to get the privilege to go to the show. They are exposed to not only the show but the food of Chicago. The faculty and students meet after the show and go to places like Frontera Grill – Rick Bayless’s famous restaurant serving Mexican Cuisine, The Berghoff– a German Restaurant, and The “Girl and the Goat.”  The Chef there is a James Beard award winner.

One student’s reaction: “Getting the opportunity to meet and network with some of the biggest names in the food industry like Thomas Keller [chef at The French Laundry], Anne Burrell and Mauricio Londono, who is the Vice President of the World Association of Chefs,” was a predictably “wow” moment, one that the student is sure will benefit him in years to come

the herb society of central florida scholarship opportunity for valencia culinary students

The Herb Society of Central Florida was founded in 1992 by a small group of Central Florida residents who met regularly to exchange information and share their passion for herbs. In addition to expanding their personal knowledge of herbs, they are dedicated to educating the public concerning the many aspects of growing and enjoying herbs.

The Herb Society of Central Florida Scholarship is for Valencia College culinary majors. Eligible candidates are required to have the following:

  • Program of Study: Culinary Arts
  • FAFSA Established Date > Saturday, January 01, 2011
  • Demonstrate financial need
  • Maintain a 3.0 GPA or higher
  • Complete the 2012-13 Fall/Spring Valencia College Foundation Scholarship Application

In order to apply for this scholarship, please visit https://valencia.scholarships.ngwebsolutions.com/CMXAdmin/Cmx_Content.aspx?cpId=466 and complete the 2012-13 Valencia Foundation scholarship application today!