Media Kit

Fact Sheet  

Edible Education Experience

operates the:

Emeril Lagasse Foundation

Kitchen House & Culinary Garden


The Emeril Lagasse Foundation Kitchen House & Culinary Garden is the first of its kind in the United States to be conceived of and built from the ground-up specifically to give children an edible education experience.


Emeril Lagasse Foundation Kitchen House & Culinary Garden, is located across the street from Orlando Junior Academy, at 26 E. King Street, in the College Park neighborhood of Orlando, Florida.

Kitchen House

The 3,500 sq.ft. Kitchen House features a commercial kitchen classroom with four
hands-on cooking stations, including food prep and hand-washing sinks, two gas ovens, refrigerator, and freezer. In addition to a kitchen classroom, the first floor houses an educational lounge, which serves as a welcome center and meeting space. The second floor features office space for Edible Education Experience as well as office rental space, which provides ongoing income to help defray operating costs. A catwalk encircles the second-floor interior, providing a birds-eye view of the kitchen classroom below.


The Kitchen House & Garden offers edible education experiences to Orlando Junior Academy students (throughout the academic year) as well as other local schools for after school enrichment, summer/holiday camps, field trips, Chef Night for families, Teacher’s Academy, community outreach, and special events.

Green Building

Built with sustainability in mind, architects designed the eco-friendly Kitchen House to use less water and energy, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and save money. The builders are seeking LEED-certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.
Green features include:
* metal roof and cisterns for water catchment
* water pump for teaching experience
* solar energy for exterior night lighting
* energy-efficient A/C
* curtain wall with tinted windows
* educational construction stations throughout

Culinary Garden

In the 3,500 sq. ft. garden, volunteers and students will grow seasonal produce year-round to use in the edible education curriculum, community outreach, and special events. The garden sits adjacent to a covered outdoor veranda, complete with a picnic table and ample seating to enable fresh-air education.


Emeril Lagasse Foundation Kitchen House & Culinary Garden opened on April 12, 2017.


Estimated to cost $1.2 million, of which $800,000 in capital funds will pay for the bulk of the project, with additional funding provided by donated labor, supplies, resources, and pro bono services.

Capital Funding

• Emeril Lagasse Foundation
• AdventHealth for Children
• Orlando Junior Academy

Pre-Construction Partners

• E2Homes

• JJV Studio

• HuntonBrady, Architects
• TLC Engineering
• Poulos & Bennett

• Foster & Conant
• Brasfield & Gorrie
• Davis & Associates

• AdventHealth Central Region’s Office of Design & Construction

Construction Partners – See list of donors at

Current Corporate Sponsors

• Orlando Junior Academy
• Chef Kevin Fonzo/KF Chef Services
• Earth Fare
• AdventHealth Center for Child/Family Wellness
• AdventHealth Mission Fit
• Edible Orlando Magazine
• Orlando Weekly Bite Night
• Winter Park Garden Club
• College Park Rotary
• Slow Foods Orlando


  • Whole Foods Market, 2011-2018

•Whole Kids Foundation – mini grant, 2017
• Orchard Supply Hardware, 2017

• RandyWalters Insurance Agency, 2017

• PEAS Foundation, 2017

• Green Contributors, 2017

• Lake Adair Garden Club, 2017

Program Assistance
• Department of Agriculture
• University of Central Florida
• City of Orlando
• Community groups, volunteers and local chefs


Edible Education Experience offers a variety of enrichment programs that promote a healthy lifestyle and benefit students, parents, educators, community neighbors, and Central Florida leaders.

  • Edible Education Experiences for Students: Since 2011, we’ve provided edible education experiences to OJA Pre-K thru 8th grade students throughout the academic year, integrating cooking and gardening into the curriculum. We’ll continue this partnership with OJA in our expanded, fully equipped Kitchen House & Culinary Garden.

  • Starting in 2017, we’ll begin offering hands-on field trips and special events at our Kitchen House and Culinary Garden for Central Florida K-12 students in public/private schools and home education programs, as well as community groups such as Boy/Girl Scouts, school garden clubs, etc. We’ll work with teachers to provide educational guidance that they can incorporate into their classroom prior to visiting the Kitchen House & Culinary Garden.

  • For students with a deeper passion for cooking and gardening, after-school enrichment clubs and summer/holiday camps will be offered where kids can learn basic skills to prepare affordable, tasty, healthy, garden-inspired menus at home. We envision these events available to K-8 students with a desire to bring their families together to share healthy meals.


  • Chef Night for Families: Geared towards both adults and kids, this intimate, seed-to-table monthly edible education experience brings all ages together for hands-on cooking workshops led by our talented local chefs, who volunteer their time to share their passion for healthy eating. This family-friendly evening begins with foraging in the garden for fresh produce to include in the night’s menu, providing a unique opportunity to connect participants to their food source. Featured recipes are plant-based, delicious, nutritious, and easy to replicate at home.

  •  Seed-to-Table Teacher Academy: Held annually since 2010, this two-day, hands-on experience teaches participants how to create their own school garden and cooking curriculum customized to a school’s resources, needs, and ability. To date, we’ve equipped more than 80 teachers from 40+ schools, in Central Florida and beyond, to initiate school gardening and cooking programs back at their own campuses. Led by Garden Educator, Brad Jones, and chefs Kevin Fonzo and Allyson Van Lenten, our innovative, garden-to-classroom workshop is open to teachers, school administrators, and community leaders. Continuing Education Credit soon to be offered.

  • Sunday Gardening for the Community: Combining fellowship and gardening, this weekly opportunity brings people of all ages together in our Culinary Garden to plant, grow, and harvest the food used for Edible Edible Experience programs. We invite volunteer gardeners, families, and community members to join us most Sundays, from 9-11AM, where we connect, work side-by-side and share gardening tips and healthy recipe ideas.

This time is also used to partner with AdventHealth for Children’s Center for Child and Family Wellness clinical team to provide cooking and community gardening education to at-risk, overweight children, teens and their families.

  • Facility Rental: We invite like-minded community groups to rent our Educational Lounge, Veranda, and/or Kitchen Classroom for a unique meeting space, with rental fees helping to defray our operating costs.


Media Contact
Janice Banks, President/CEO


The Growth of Edible Education Experience

"Grounding education in a garden experience"


• With the permission of Orlando Junior Academy (OJA) Principal Nicole Agbonkhese, parent Brad Jones helps 1st grade teacher build a vegetable garden outside one of the classrooms.


• Jones, a regular customer at K Restaurant in College Park, tells Chef-Owner Kevin Fonzo that OJA’s cafeteria has no hot food service because the former cafeteria cook retired. Agbonkhese asks Chef Kevin if he’d help develop a healthy lunch menu for the PreK-8 Seventh-day Adventist school, which follows an all-vegetarian diet. Chef Kevin volunteers to cook lunch for OJA at his nearby restaurant four days a week with volunteer parents delivering it to OJA.

• Partnership with AdventHealth Childrens (then Florida Hospital For Children), Center for Child and Family Wellness begins. Clinical team and AdventHealth’s Mission:Fit Possible health and wellness edutainers give regular, healthy lifestyle presentations to OJA students with fun, engaging students activities.


• Janice Banks, OJA School Board Member, and Sarah Cahill, Certified Raw Food Chef, get involved.

• OJA garden wins Best School Garden award in statewide competition sponsored by University of Florida, Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival and Florida Federation of Garden Clubs.

• OJA task force, sponsored by AdventHealth Central Florida Division Community Impact and Hospital Church (then Florida Hospital Church), attends Alice Water’s three-day Edible Schoolyard (ESY) Teacher Academy in Berkeley, CA. Upon return, volunteers dub program ESY Orlando at OJA (OJA/ESY).

• Chefs Kevin and Sarah pilot a once-a-week cooking class called Nutritional Science Lab for OJA students for nine weeks. Teaching is held in a make-shift kitchen classroom. Whole Foods Market of Winter Park sponsors ingredients. After initial nine weeks, 5th graders petition the OJA School Board to “Save Our Cooking Class!” The Board agrees to fund Sarah Cahill as Chef Instructor.

• OJA/ESY debuts Art in the Garden, a Career Day with artists who demonstrate their craft using the Pollinator Garden as inspiration.


• OJA allocates Professional Development funds to send second task force to attend ESY Teacher Academy in Berkeley, CA. AdventHealth Orlando partially sponsors trip.

• Chef Sarah and Gardener Brad pilot OJA/ESY Teacher Academy with six attendees.

• OJA/ESY forms Advisory Committee. Attendees include: Sarah Cahill; Janice Banks; Nicole Agbonkhese and Anna Adkins (OJA); Dr. Angela Fals and Tamara Dorway (AdventHealth Center for Child and Family Wellness); Sara Stack (WP Health Foundation), Lois Dorotiak and Adrian Iannone (WF Market); Kevin Fonzo (then owner of K Restaurant); Robert Bowden (Leu Gardens); Jason Bingham (Swipe4Kids); Heather Tribou; Gabby Othon (Slow Foods); John Monday (OJA Board); Henry Melendy (MyYardFarm); Brad Jones; and Kendra Lott (Edible Orlando magazine)

• OJA recognizes OJA/ESY Advisory Committee as a sub-committee to the OJA School Board.


• OJA grants permission for Orlando City Fire Department to practice-burn dilapidated house at then-18 E. King Street.

• Gardener Brad gives presentation at EPCOT Flower & Garden Festival titled “Strawberries, Peanuts and the Quest for World Dominance” and includes photos of OJA/ESY garden.

• Chefs Sarah and Kevin and Gardener Brad present the second annual Edible Schoolyard Teacher Academy to 22 Central Florida teachers representing 13 different schools. Edible Orlando magazine provides free ad.

• OJA/ESY begins to develop concept for Kitchen House and Give-Back Garden, including the recruitment of funding partners.

• Whole Foods Market holds National Kids’ Day of Service. Winter Park store chooses vacant lot across from OJA to prep and plant first two plots of community Give-Back Garden.

• Sunday morning gardening begins. Partnership further develops with AdventHealth’s Center for Child and Family Wellness, with their clinical team providing community gardening and cooking education to at-risk, overweight children, teens, and their families.

• American celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse visits OJA to cook with 5th graders, with a focus on the New Orleans region. Students harvest okra from the garden and cook okra recipes with Chef Emeril, Chef Kevin, and Chef Sarah. The Cooking Channel airs segment of Emeril’s Florida reporting on Chef Kevin and OJA/ESY.

• Fundraising efforts take off, with special events (Sunday Supper Benefit), grant writing, etc.

• Emeril Lagasse Foundation sends board member for site visit and is introduced to AdventHealth Childrens. Together, the two organizations pledge to fund the capital project, then estimated at 500K.


• OJA/ESY holds Town Hall Meeting to discuss project’s future. Chef Kevin explains why kitchen classroom space is needed to teach nutritional science, as professional chefs try to teach nutrition and life skills to students in a make-shift space with no hot water, no oven or stove, and less-than-ideal sanitary conditions. OJA Board Chair John Monday and architect Jose Venegas lend their support.

• OJA/ESY holds its first Iron Chef Jr. Competition for its 5th-8th graders. Students work in teams to create healthy, tasty dish from recipes created by OJA/ESY Kitchen Classroom Chefs. Students must use fresh ingredients harvested straight from the OJA/ESY Garden. The competition serves as the final exam for the nine-week Nutritional Science Lab unit.

• Gardener Brad and Chef Sarah give presentation at EPCOT Flower & Garden Festival titled “Watermelon Math” and include photos of OJA/ESY Garden and Nutritional Science Lab.

• OJA/ESY officially changes name to Edible Education Experience (EEE) and becomes its own 501(c)3 public nonprofit. AdventHealth Childrens, through its Healthy 100 Kids initiative, assigns $450,000 to the EEE capital campaign.

• EEE hosts its third annual Edible Schoolyard Teacher Academy with maximum attendance. 

• Mary Sukow becomes OJA Food Service Director and begins adding garden veggies and fresh herbs to the school’s hot lunch menu.

• James Hurst of AdventHealth Central Florida Division Design & Construction Department becomes Owner’s Rep for capital project and brings pre-construction team to the table: HuntonBrady Architects; Jose Venegas, Design Architect; TLC Structural Engineering; Poulos & Bennett Civil Engineering; and FosterConant Landscape Architects.

• EEE holds ground-breaking ceremony for new Kitchen House & Culinary Garden. Brian Kish, President of the Emeril Lagasse Foundation, announces its single largest grant of $250,000 with the naming of the Emeril Lagasse Foundation Kitchen House & Culinary Garden.

• EEE holds first annual School Garden Field Trip & Empathy Tour to develop community partner relationships, to encourage others, and to be inspired for our own work ahead. Tour includes visits to Princeton Elementary, New Image Youth Center, Lift Orlando, Creation Kids Village, and Bithlo Transformation Village.

• OJA largely donates land valued at $78,000 per lot. EEE pays off mortgage balance of approximately $20,000.


• After interviewing contractors and reviewing several bids, EEE selects Rob Smith, owner of E2Homes and who demonstrates a “heart for the project,” as the contractor with a bid of $800,000.

• Gardener Brad and Jose Venegas of JJV Studio Studio give presentation at EPCOT Flower & Garden Festival titled “Gardening in the Public Realm”.

• Jamba Juice awards mini-grant.

• AdventHealth’s (then Florida Hospital’s) Gourmet Soiree, with Emeril Lagasse Foundation staff in attendance, highlights Kitchen House & Garden project.

• AdventHealth Center for Child and Family Wellness and Mission:Fit Possible hold their annual Sportswear Fashion Show. EEE participates by giving garden tours.

• EEE hosts its fourth annual Edible Schoolyard Teacher Academy.

• EEE hosts its first Chef Night with Kathleen Blake, Owner/Chef of Orlando-based Rusty Spoon restaurant.

• EEE submits building plans for permit.

• Downtown Credo Rally Makers grant three-month mentorship. Advisory Committee members Jose Venegas, Megan Padilla, and Janice Banks work with PowerDMS to launch website.


• EEE receives construction permit. • Emeril Lagasse Foundation Board conducts construction site visit.

• Tractor arrives and grading of lot begins. 

• Gardener Brad and Dr. Angela Fals from AdventHealth Center for Child and Family Wellness give presentation at EPCOT Flower & Garden Festival titled “Growing Kids in a Garden.”

• EEE hosts its fifth annual Edible Schoolyard Teacher Academy along with Kristi Hatakka of Florida Department of Agriculture.

• Chef Allyson Van Lenten (then Schurig) volunteers with Gardener Brad to host event for 20 kids from Boys & Girls Club in partnership with Advent University (then Adventist University).

.• OJA further develops curriculum integration via interactive journals, led by teacher Sabrina Miler.

• EEE does NOT receive expected funding for 155K proposed budget for future operations. Work continues on a mostly volunteer basis.

• AdventHealth Childrens signs Intent to Lease for Kitchen House office space at discounted partner rate of $12,000 annually.

• Central Florida Foundation online profile goes LIVE, making EEE an accredited community foundation.

• Advisory Committee welcomes Lisa Beach, freelance writer, who develops Media Kit and updates website content, and Paula Kennedy, photographer, who helps photograph our facility and events.


• January 24: EEE hosts during-construction team-building event for Noble Group Inc.

• January 30: Through Public Allies, Jeffrey Onore, joins the team for a 10-month internship--provided through AdventHealth Central Florida Division Community Impact.

• February 5: EEE pilots Sunday Morning Gardening special event for kids.

• February 7: EEE holds its regular Board Meeting inside Kitchen House for first time.

• February 13: Whole Kids Foundation awards mini-grant.

• March 21: EEE dedicates Kitchen House and takes team photos.

• April 12: The Emeril Lagasse Foundation Kitchen House & Culinary Garden ribbon-cutting celebration is held with Chef Emeril in attendance. 

For most current information, visit

Media Contact

Janice Banks, President/CEO