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Thursday, February 9, 2023

Celebrity chefs to visit high school culinary students in Marion County

Culinary arts students in Marion County will receive a special visit from five nationally known celebrity chefs on Friday, November 4.

The celebrity chefs include:

  • Art Smith – a former chef to Oprah Winfrey.
  • Rashad Jones – a Marion County Public Schools (MCPS) graduate who recently won a nationally televised barbeque contest.
  • Elizabeth Falkner – a New York City chef known for her frequent appearances on top culinary television programs.
  • Timothy Hollingsworth – a Los Angeles resident who spent 13 years at the world-famous restaurant, The French Laundry.
  • Esdras Ochoa – a chef who introduced a trendy taqueria in downtown Los Angeles and is now taking the flavors of Mexico to the streets of Hong Kong.

According to MCPS, the celebrity chefs will visit classrooms at the following Marion County schools on Friday morning:

  • Belleview High School (10400 SE 36 Avenue in Belleview).
    • Celebrity Chef: Elizabeth Falkner (pastries and desserts).
    • Time: 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m.
  • Dunnellon High School (10055 SW 180 Avenue Road in Dunnellon).
    • Celebrity Chef: Esdras Ochoa (Mexican cuisine).
    • Time: 9:15 a.m.
  • Forest High School (5000 SE Maricamp Road in Ocala).
    • Celebrity Chef: Rashad Jones (barbecue).
    • Time: 9 a.m. to 10 a.m.
  • Lake Weir High School (10351 SE Maricamp Road in Ocala).
    • Celebrity Chef: Tim Hollingsworth (contemporary American/French cuisine).
    • Time: 9:45 a.m. to 11 a.m.
  • Marion Technical Institute (1614 E Fort King Street in Ocala).
    • Celebrity Chef: Art Smith (southern cuisine).
    • Time: 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.

These visits from the celebrity chefs will bring real-life experiences and face-to-face interactions to Marion County students who are considering culinary careers.

“Getting students exposed to the Culinary Arts at this age is preparing them for careers after they graduate,” said Chef Darin Nine, head of the Culinary Arts Program at Marion Technical College / Marion Technical Institute.

Chef Nine added, “In Culinary Arts, students are learning about culture, science, math, and history, along with management and leadership skills. Throughout these programs, they are learning marketable skills for an industry that is quickly growing in our community.”

The celebrity chefs will be in Ocala this weekend to participate in a culinary celebration at the World Equestrian Center. As part of this celebration, the culinary students will also compete in an afternoon Iron Chef-style cooking competition on-stage with Celebrity Chefs Hollingsworth and Falkner on Saturday, November 5.

Culinary programs are offered locally through the MCPS Career and Technical Education Department.

For more information on this week’s celebrity chef visits, contact the MCPS Public Relations Office. To learn more about this weekend’s culinary celebration, visit the World Equestrian Center website.