Beneficiary Spotlight: Grand Opening of the Emeril Lagasse Foundation Kitchen House & Culinary Garden

A project in the making since 2014, the Emeril Lagasse Foundation Kitchen House & Culinary Garden officially opened its doors at Orlando Junior Academy in the College Park neighborhood of Orlando.

The 3,500-square-foot commercial kitchen and garden was unveiled to a celebratory audience of community members and media who have patiently awaited the arrival of the one-of-a-kind, $1.2 million facility.

The Emeril Lagasse Foundation granted $250,000 toward the building with the vision of creating a space where chefs, teachers and students can successfully meld cooking and gardening lessons with school curriculum. The facility and garden will also be used for school field trips, cooking classes for adults and families and Sunday gardening for the community.

Notable speakers at the grand opening event included Chef Emeril Lagasse, Mayor Buddy Dyer and Chef Kevin Fonzo who spoke to the positive impact the facility will make within the community and on its students. Orlando Junior Academy eighth-graders had the honor of cutting the ribbon for eager guests to enter and tour the new property.

“My wife Alden and I are so proud to be a part of this project and look forward to seeing the impact it will have on children’s lives for years to come. We are thankful for the support of Orlando Junior Academy, our dedicated board, donors and local community partners who have played a key role in bringing the Foundation’s vision to life through this initiative,” said Lagasse.

In addition to its numerous state-of-the-art features, the Kitchen House is also an eco-friendly building, with solar panels for nighttime lighting, an energy efficient air conditioner and a curtain wall with tinted windows. A metal roof was also designed to funnel rainwater into cisterns, creating a natural irrigation system for the garden.

“The Kitchen House project is a shining example of the types of innovative community efforts that are transforming our City's culture for the better, engaging all our residents through unique and edible education experiences to live healthier, more prosperous, and sustainable lives,” said Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer. “We're delighted and grateful to see Emeril Lagasse's Foundation choose Orlando to develop this unique model that combines urban agriculture and culinary education for all ages, an initiative that furthers our efforts in providing more environmentally-friendly lifestyles for residents in Orlando.”

The Kitchen House will support the Edible Education Experience, a 501(c)3 non-profit which aims to connect kids with seed-to-table, garden-to-classroom learning experiences to build a healthy future.

The Emeril Lagasse Foundation is honored to have taken part in this inspiring community effort and proud to have donated the crucial funds needed to see this project come to life. Learn how you can donate or support Emeril Lagasse Foundation’s mission by visiting our Get Involved page.

About Emeril Lagasse Foundation:

Founded in 2002 by Chef Emeril Lagasse and his wife Alden, Emeril Lagasse Foundation is a 501c(3) public charity headquartered in New Orleans. The Foundation’s mission is to create opportunities to inspire, mentor and enable youth to reach their full potential through culinary, nutrition and arts education. Since its inception, Emeril Lagasse Foundation has granted more than $8 million to children’s charities to support culinary, nutrition and arts programs. To learn more about the Foundation and its beneficiaries, visit, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.