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Celebrating Culinary Training Success

Celebrating Culinary Training Success

A Reason to Celebrate!

Graduation day is one of the best days at Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida. It marks the culmination of 16 weeks of hard work, dedication, and transformation for Culinary Training Program students. The program provides at-risk adults with the life skills and culinary training needed to launch a sustainable career in the food industry.

Commencement speaker Chef Gregg Hannon shared his passion for alternative paths for education and training and asked graduates, “What does it mean to feed people?” To Greg, it’s about enjoyment, creating memories, reliving moments, preserving cultures, and, at its core, it’s about survival. 

“Cooking can give back too,” explained Chef Gregg. “When you cook, you put your heart and soul into those meals. You can feed others, you can feed your family, and know that someday you can help someone else.”

 Culinary training program graduation playbillsGuest speaker at Culinary Training Program graduationInstructors celebrating with graduates at Culinary Training Program graduation 

Culinary Training Program graduation ceremony


And the award goes to...

The first in-person graduation since the pandemic celebrated the accomplishments of 19 students, including the Top Student recipient, Nerlande. A mother of three, she did not let anything stop her from pursuing a better career. She was selected for this award for her positive attitude and focus in the kitchen. She currently works at a local hotel in banquets and catering and has already received a promotion. 

Attendance is a key to success in the workplace. It takes time, planning, and preparation to be prompt and ready to work. The Best Attendance award was presented to Haryana.


Nerlande, a graduate from the Culinary Training Program at Second Harvest Food Bank of Central FloridaHaryana, a graduate from the Culinary Training Program at Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida


Sadly, Chef Eric Andre, chef instructor, was missing from the festivities. He passed away earlier this spring. This graduating class is the last group of culinarians he shared his love of gastronomy with at Second Harvest. 

“He was the program’s heart and soul, ” said Nancy Brumbaugh, Chief Food Services Officer. Nancy shared that the Top Student award will be given in Chef Eric’s honor. 

Chef Eric’s career took him to Michelin-star restaurants in Europe and the United States. He taught at Le Cordon Bleu for many years before joining the team at Second Harvest. He will be remembered for his generosity, patience, and positive attitude. 


Enjoy this short tribute video to Chef Eric.


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