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.

 

 

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Alumni Update from Cece Burns, ’13

Chacoryia “Cece” Burns, Valencia’s 2013 Mary Smedley Collier’s Distinguished Graduate is currently a Broadcast Journalism major at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU). Those of us that have read Cece’s triumphant story and may have also had the privilege of meeting such a kind spirit know that she has manage to persevere through all odds. She has proven that if you put your mind to it you can accomplish any goal.

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Cece shares “Recently, I’ve become the weather anchor for FAMU TV News-20 which broadcast live to over 8,000 Comcast viewers in the north Florida and south Georgia area. I am a Gospel Radio Personality for WANM 90.5 FM “The Flava Station” which airs on Sunday’s from 8am-11am. As I continue with my journey as a reporter, I plan to continue to work with FAMU TV News 20 as the lead desk anchor as well as intern for a local news station and print journalism company until my graduation on April 30, 2016. After that I plan to either move to Orlando or stay in Tallahassee and pursue a Masters in Fine Arts in Production as well as become a Multi-Media Journalist (MMJ) for a local news station or become a local Gospel Radio Personality.”

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“My advice to the students is to continue to strive for your dream. Never let anyone deter you from being what you want to be in life. And also always volunteer and get internships in your profession. Be persistent and always be kind to others because you never know who you will meet and who will take you to the next level.”

Cece is a positive role model and is constantly giving back to the community, whether it be volunteering for children’s church or serving on the Transfer Student Association. Her story encourages us all.

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Cece is doing big things and is truly an amazing Valencia Alum….Way to represent!

Check out Cece’s story here

 

winter blessings

This holiday season is a special time of year, one when we focus on friends and family; our gifts express generosity and love to those we care about.

This winter I’m reflecting back on the blessings received in 2013.  There have been many in my life including travels, new family members, additional professional accomplishments, budding friendships and visits to and from long time friends.

One of the most profound blessings is the work I do for the Valencia  and the students that are served because of our mission.

Valencia students are more determined than ever to improve their opportunities in life, and perhaps change the future of their family for generations.  This is where your generosity makes a huge difference.

I have witnessed how our student’s lives are impacted by the kindness of our donors. Without foundation scholarships, many would not be able to attend college. Your support continues to make a tremendous difference in the lives of these students.

This holiday season is a special time of year, one when we focus on friends and family; our gifts express generosity and love to those we care about.

If you are considering extending your generosity and want to make a difference in the lives of others this year, please consider a donation in support of Valencia College and the students we serve.

If you wish to make a donation please visit us online at www.VALENCIA.org and click on >>Give Now for our secure website.  You may also send your contribution to Valencia Foundation 190 S. Orange Avenue, Orlando, FL 32801. Checks dated on or before December 31, 2013 will be marked as a 2013 donation.

I trust that you will give as generously as you can to provide the opportunity for a life-changing learning experience for a Valencia students.

And I wish many blessings to you and your family in the New Year.

Happy holidays!