As Executive Director of Edible Education Experience, Janice Banks handles the overall financial management and administrative functions of this recently formed non-profit and also serves as Board Secretary.
Janice’s talent for organizing and fundraising became apparent at the age of 10 when she sent away for a “Charlie & Humphrey” Carnival Kit and reached her goal of raising $100 for the fight against Muscular Dystrophy. Her more recent fundraising efforts netted more than $150,000 in three years for Forest Lake Academy’s Varsity Booster Club and raised $900,000 as Development Director at Orlando Junior Academy from 2000-2009.
With a Bachelor Degree in Business Administration from Pacific Union College, Janice began a 10-year career in Risk Management with the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists in Maryland and then Adventist Health Systems in Texas. When the family move to Nashville, TN in 1997, she set her career aside to create a more relaxed home for her two young girls and busy-executive husband David. In 2000, with a move to Orlando and both girls in school, Janice returned to work and completed several courses at Rollins College through the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University.
Currently, Janice primarily focuses her volunteer efforts at Edible Education Experience, where she feels called to connect with the Orlando community. She also volunteers her time at Orlando Junior Academy School Board, Forest Lake Academy Golf Tournament, and Florida Hospital Gourmet Soiree. She is a faithful member of Florida Hospital Seventh-day Adventist Church, although she “sneaks off” to a non-denominational Bible Study Fellowship class once a week.
Janice and David have been married for 25+ years, and the couple’s two daughters are now grown. Janice loves her wonderful, generous, and supportive husband and is proud of her girls for their willingness to serve others.
As Garden Coordinator of Edible Education Experience, Brad Jones handles everything related to the 1,500 sq.ft. Culinary Garden, from planning the crops and coordinating edible lessons with teachers to providing hands-on experiences for garden visitors and harvesting the garden’s produce.
But Brad didn’t start his career as a horticulturist. With a Bachelor Degree in Accounting from Trevecca Nazarene College, Brad worked for a few years as an auditor at a hotel on International Drive. When he realized that accounting was not his calling, Brad switched gears to serve as a firefighter with city of Orlando for 25 years.
With a servant’s heart, Brad found a new calling in 2003, when his daughter was a first-grader at Orlando Junior Academy. Feeling a need to tie-in Florida’s natural beauty with what his daughter was learning in school, Jones began to see the school’s campus itself as a teaching tool. Not one to suggest an idea and simply walk away, Brad rolled up his sleeves and worked side-by-side with teachers and administrators to build a small garden plot.
Awestruck by the miracle of life in the garden, Brad tapped into his enthusiastic relationship with nature and food to help grow the idea from a simple schoolyard garden in 2003 to a 501(c)3 non-profit organization in 2014---complete with the debut of the Emeril Lagasse Foundation Kitchen House and Culinary Garden in 2017. Brad serves as one of the founding members of Edible Education Experience. He shares the gardening knowledge he’s gleaned through his on-the-volunteer-job training with students visiting the garden, with educators through the Edible Schoolyard Academy for Teachers, and with the community through presentations at EPCOT’s Flower and Garden Festival.
Married to Cindee Jones for 25 years, Brad and his wife enjoy watching their daughter, a soon-to-be-college graduate, pursue a career in industrial design.
Quote that sums up Brad: “I love dirt!”
As Chef Instructor, Allyson Schurig creates and teaches curriculum-based lessons for Edible Education Experience. She is also the lead Chef Instructor for Orlando Junior Academy, where cooking and gardening are integrated into math, science, literacy, and U.S. history classes.
Born and raised in Kansas City, MO, Allyson moved to Orlando with her parents in 2000. While earning her bachelor’s degree in Education from the University of Central Florida, Allyson’s passion for cooking blossomed. On the academic path to teach history, Allyson’s plans got derailed when she lived in an off-campus apartment with a full kitchen at her disposal. Instead of relying on “dorm food,” Allyson began teaching herself to cook. After graduating with a degree in Social Science Education, Allyson decided to go to culinary school to pursue her love of cooking and, more specifically, teaching others how to cook.
Allyson graduated from Le Cordon Bleu with a degree in Culinary Arts and then received a certification in Home Economics. Last year, she began volunteering with Edible Education Experience. In January 2017, she started teaching cooking classes for Orlando Junior Academy alongside Chef Kevin Fonzo. Allyson now teaches school field trips, summer/holiday camps, and after-school cooking clubs that offer a seed-to-table experience in the Emeril Lagasse Foundation Kitchen House & Culinary Garden.
As Co-Founder of Edible Education Experience and Chef Night Event Coordinator, Sarah Cahill runs our Chef Night for Families and serves as one of the lead instructors at Edible Schoolyard Academy for Teachers. For the past five years, Sarah taught cooking classes for Orlando Junior Academy alongside Chef Kevin Fonzo. A volunteer since our non-profit’s early days, Sarah serves as a core committee member.
Although she majored in Advertising/PR at Florida State University, Sarah found her true calling when she turned her career ambitions toward food. First, she got certified as a Raw Food Chef and Holistic Health Coach from Columbia University and Institute of Integrative Nutrition in New York City. Then she jumped into a series of fun, food-related roles, including nutrition stints in the sports world and the media.
Sarah tackled the demands as a nutrition expert for the NFL, serving as Healthy Chef for the annual Super Bowl Tailgate Party every year since 2008 and providing nutrition coaching to retired and alumni NFL players. Then she made a slam dunk as the Chef for the 2012 NBA All-Stars Weekend to benefit the Coalition for the Homeless.
Turning her sights to media, Sarah was the host of TV-45 Good Life Station’s Raw Food segments and co-authored the book 11 Weeks to Discover Nutrition. She also worked in marketing for Edible Orlando Magazine for two years.
An entrepreneur at heart, Sarah is also a Realtor and has developed a line of baby celebratory items for retail stores. And, in her spare time, Sarah is also an accomplished equestrian. In 2016, she won the Grand National Championship.
Very family-focused, Sarah and her husband David have five adult children and two grandchildren.
As Co-Founder of Edible Education Experience and Chef Instructor, Kevin Fonzo works to help integrate cooking and gardening into math, science, literacy, and history lessons. He also serves as one of the lead instructors at Edible Schoolyard Academy for Teachers. Since 2010, Kevin taught cooking classes for Orlando Junior Academy alongside Chef Sarah Cahill and now Chef Allyson Schurig.
After graduating from the Culinary Institute of America in 1983, Kevin began his rise to the top at Orlando’s Peabody Hotel, where he earned the “Best Brunch of Orlando” award from Glamour Magazine as the chef at Capriccio. In the 1990s, the Atlanta-based Peasant Restaurant Group scouted Kevin as chef for several of their restaurants. Afterwards, he stayed in Atlanta for a few more years, working at a handful of restaurants as chef, menu designer, and kitchen developer.
After his Atlanta stint, Kevin fell in love with Orlando-based Café Allegre and its College Park neighborhood. First, he worked at the Edgewater Drive restaurant, and then he bought it in 2001. He changed its name to K Restaurant and Wine Bar, which became one of Orlando’s first chef-owned-and-operated restaurants. Making his mark on the local food scene, Kevin helped pioneer the farm-to-table movement in Orlando, focusing on sourcing ingredients from local farmers. To keep his menu hyper-local, Kevin even maintains an 800 sq.ft. garden behind K Restaurant.
A member of the American Culinary Federation as a Certified Executive Chef, Kevin has garnered extensive media coverage for his outstanding culinary skills and won dozens of awards as well as a nomination for the esteemed James Beard Award. Over the years, he’s also had the privilege of working alongside culinary greats such as Susan Spicer, Emeril Lagasse, Bobby Flay, and Alan Susser.
A philanthropist at heart, Kevin has volunteered at food banks, March of Dimes, Share our Strength for Taste of the NFL, American Cancer Foundation, and Second Harvest Food Bank. Kevin’s love for cooking, gardening, and helping led him to Orlando Junior Academy by first taking over the cafeteria’s operations and then teaching curriculum-based lessons through cooking. His efforts at the school didn’t go unnoticed. He earned a tour of the White House garden through Michelle Obama’s “Chefs Move to Schools” initiative. And Emeril Lagasse featured Kevin’s work and the schoolyard garden project on the Cooking Channel’s Emeril’s Florida TV show.
Quote that sums up Kevin’s philosophy: “I want kids to know where food come from.”