Celebrity Chefs, Students Cook up Bites to Support Miami-Dade (Fla.) Programs

Courtney Williams's picture
Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Shrimp ceviche with tostones and avocado. Sweet-and-sour wonton pockets. Pumpkin pot de crème with ginger biscotti.

That’s a small sampling of the menu planned for a fundraiser Tuesday, when South Florida celebrity chefs like Michelle Bernstein and Douglas Rodriguez joins culinary students from Miami-Dade County Public Schools.

The event benefits the Foundation for New Education Initiatives, which supports the schools.

For students, the event is a chance to show off their skills and learn from the pros.

“It’s the exposure we need to grow,” said Eli Calderin, 51, a student at the culinary program at Robert Morgan Educational Center in South Miami-Dade. Adult students from Lindsey Hopkins Technical Education Center and Miami Lakes Educational Center will also participate.

On Monday, Calderin started preparing. She carefully placed a mix of minced cabbage, carrots, celery and onion in wontons and then folded them into origami-like envelopes — ready to be fried up later. A former preschool teacher, Calderin enrolled last year to follow her passion. “Cooking is a way of sharing love, sharing something everyone enjoys,” she said, adding, “It’s the catalyst that brings everyone together."

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