Looking confident in her black hospitality coat and red apron, 11th grader Amanda Mayendia serves up tasty morsels for the lineup of hungry guests strolling through the home of Venny and Coco Torre for the 9th annual Tour of Kitchens.
“I’m learning little by little,” said Mayendia, who joined the Academy of Culinary Arts and Operations at Coral Gables Senior High just a few weeks before the February event.
Instructor Michael Flores-Interiano supervised Mayendia and two other members of the academy as they created and plated an attractive and delicious amuse-bouche of mini corn cakes topped with cheese, mushroom ragout, and a lime crème fraiche.
“I love it. It feels great to be back,” said Chef Flores Interiano, himself a 2008 graduate of Gables High. He went on to obtain culinary degrees from Johnson & Wales University and FIU; in addition to his work with Gables High, he also teaches at the Biltmore Culinary Academy.
Revenue from the Tour of Kitchens helps support the culinary arts program at Gables High, says Mary Snow, executive director of the Coral Gables Community Foundation. Support has included scholarships for students to attend Miami-Dade College’s Culinary Institute and Johnson & Wales University, industrial kitchen equipment for the classroom, plants for a campus vegetable garden, and trips to state cooking competitions.