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Who is behind the educational success of Culinary Kids?

Meet the skilled staff who put their energy and hearts into our community!

Our goal is to develop and connect with kids and families. Certifications, advanced training and continuing education ensures that they are always up-to-date with fresh ideas, sound teaching principles and great new recipes!

Jody Tharp

Operations Assistant

Jody Tharp has been with Culinary Kids since it's inception and has been part of it's growth and internal development for many years. She currently serves as Operations Assistant and leads any and ALL types of programs offered. 
With over 8 years of experience teaching cooking classes to youngsters, she brings technical skills, enthusiasm and passion to each of our programs. Her background includes 4 years as a local Sunday School teacher, instructing pre-Kindergarten through 6th grade as well as serving as crafting and knitting instructor for both children and the elderly in our community. She is an active parent in the Mandeville Elementary School community. Originally from Seattle, Washington, with an over 10-year career in printing and marketing, she moved to Mandeville many years ago. We’ve trained her palette well on Southern food and she’s developed a great hand at making baked beignets! Normally seen wearing ANYTHING orange or sporting her favorite character (Mickey Mouse) she can be found in the community serving young adults with special needs, enhancing their daily lives and creating a greater sense of personal independence for those she cares for. She has a tremendous heart and we are blessed to have her on our team!

Lizzie Duhon

Birthday Party and Camp Lead Instructor

Lizzie Duhon is a Music Therapy student at the University of Alabama. Having graduated with Honors from Fontainebleau High School, she returns to her hometown during college breaks to serve as one of our program assistants in her time off. Lizzie dreams of being a teacher and we can attest to her skill sets in this realm! Her experience with Bulldog Buddies at Fontainbleau High and involvement with the iCAN organization as a volunteer assistant to people with special needs is testament to her calm and giving nature. She is very active in her church community of St. Timothy’s as a small group leader for 8th grade girls, serving on their Leadership Team and Faith in Action Team, offering volunteer service to people in need in our community. As a talented gal, she has a silly, fun nature that draws children toward her for mentorship and guidance. She’s also known to make a joyful noise in both church and school choir...if you’re lucky, you might catch a few tunes from her while she works!

Brooke Berry

Advanced Class Chef

Chef Brooke recently joined us after moving from southern California with her husband and two daughters. While on the West Coast, she taught high school culinary arts for several years and brings some serious skills to our advanced class students (they have been seen safely practicing caramelizing techniques with the blow torches, making homemade meatballs with a meat grinder and more!) Chef Brooke brings a level of fun professionalism to each class and the students love the fast-paced, demanding feel of working in a real kitchen! (She’s awfully good BUT we still need to teach her how to boil crawfish...)


 

 

Chef Eileen Bennett

Advanced Class Chef and Adult Instructor

Chef Eileen Bennett teaches a variety of classes here at Culinary Kids! Her background covers over 25 years in the culinary industry working with great chefs like Susan Spicer and Alison Vega. She most recently joined Mugshot’s and Glory Bound Gyros as their new and first-ever Corporate Chef!  Eileen’s creativity and connection with people is tremendous…food is her life. She works closely with the Pro-Start Culinary Program at Fontainebleau High and as a local mom of 3, she is well-versed in inspiring youth! Whether it’s leading our Advanced Cooking Class for kids, our All Ability Class for young adults with special needs, or as the featured chef in our monthly adult Corks and Cooking Series where you bring the wine and she brings the recipes, she is sure to teach you more than you’d bargained for and will certainly get you excited about creating your own culinary masterpieces!

Chef Chuck Fisher

Advanced Class Chef and Adult Instructor

Chef Fisher brings advanced, professional skills to the students of Culinary Kids! He is classically trained and put his talents to work for many years as Sous Chef for Pat Gallagher of Gallagher’s Grill and as Sous Chef at The Dakota Restaurant in Covington and creating a place of his own…Fusion Bistro! His pre-Katrina career included teaching at the New Orleans Culinary Academy after completing the culinary arts degree program at USL and Delgado. He was named one of the Rising Star Chefs of Louisiana in 1997 and has been judged in statewide competitions by the U.S. Culinary Team. Now living in Abita with his wife and daughters, Chuck’s passion for local, organic foods have literally taken ROOT at his own organically certified farm! He houses poultry and cultivates blueberries, citrus trees and more while hosting adult workshops on topics such as building clay ovens, rain barrels and composting. Chef Chuck brings flavor, culture and local flare to our programs while inspiring youth to get creative in the kitchen (and garden!).

Mary Haynes Furman

Instructor / Birthday Party Princess

Miss Mary Haynes has been teaching with Culinary Kids for 2 years and can be seen leading hilarious birthday parties, scout badge programs, parents’ night out programs, camps and more! But we must warn you, she has been named “Messiest Flour Flinger” in all of Culinary Kids… so if you see her pull out the flour bin, DUCK! She has the reputation of being a bit of a joker so keep your eye on this Lakeshore High AP and Honor Roll student! You can also keep an ear out for her…with a strong melodic voice, you are likely to catch her singing while she works or maybe you’ll get to see her perform in the community with Paramount Academy of the Performing Arts! Miss Mary Haynes is a great performer with a kind and gentle energy around kids. As the oldest of 8 siblings, she has a very mature nature and is sure to put a smile on your face!


 

Jody Tharp

All Abilities Instructor

Miss Jody is our All Abilities Class mentor, serving young adults with special needs as we teach and practice life skills, cooking techniques, social skills and more. Jody’s heart beats for those with different abilities and her young son, Tanner joins her with a natural affinity for patiently encouraging people with varied needs. With over 4 years of experience teaching cooking classes to youngsters, she brings technical skills, enthusiasm and passion to each of our programs. Her background includes 4 years as a local Sunday School teacher, instructing pre-Kindergarten through 6th grade as well as serving as crafting and knitting instructor for both children and the elderly in our community. She is an active parent in the Mandeville Elementary School community. Originally from Seattle, Washington, with an over 10-year career in printing and marketing, she moved to Mandeville with her husband and two sons over five years ago. We’ve trained her palette well on Southern food and she’s developed a great hand at making baked beignets!

Kelly Ulfers

Program Assistant

Miss Kelly has been a part of our team for many years and manages to work us in to her personal schedule managing a family of 6….she has four boys at home...plus a hubby! Kelly gives her heart to her family, but she shares it readily with all of our Mom and Me toddlers as well as our field trip students! You have to keep an eye on her though…she’s been known to play tricks on the teachers now and then...


 

 

Ashley Cuber

Program Assistant

Miss Ashley is our Field Trip PRANKSTER! You can catch her stirring up trouble as we measure and pour…she can be a bit of a mess at times! Her energy is infectious and she will never be caught without a smile on her face! As a local mom, Miss Ashley has served as a teacher substitute for St. Timothy’s Preschool, volunteered with Mom’s Club International for 3 years and in her spare time she works on various committees at Our Lady of the Lake School. She is JUST silly enough to run our Mommy and Me classes and we love her joy and dedication to children. Bright ideas and a bright smile are what you’ll find when you meet Miss Ashley!


 

Bradley Damare'

Program Assistant / Field Trip DJ

Bradley is our first student-turned-staff-member at Culinary Kids! He attended several sessions of our All-Abilities cooking class for young adults. His passion for cooking, advanced skill sets and obvious joy when working with others led him to a position in our company! As an adult with special needs, he has focused abilities and an attention to detail that is critical when running a clean, productive program. You’ll probably catch him dancing and singing while working, which is something we all LOVE to do! Bradley was made to work with kids and inspire them and we are lucky to have him on board!