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May 3, 2016

CONTACT:   Erica Smith
Director of Marketing & Public Relations


Bok Academy Students to Learn Valuable Cooking Skills From Chef David Bearl at Bok Tower Gardens’ Outdoor Kitchen May 20th

LAKE WALES, Fla. - Forty lucky middle school students from Bok Academy will be the first to attend a cooking class at Bok Tower Gardens’ new Outdoor Kitchen. The class will be held on Friday, May 20 beginning at 9:30 a.m. and students will have the delicious opportunity to select fresh produce from the Edible Garden and then turn these ingredients into delicious wood-fired pizzas under the direction of celebrated Chef David Bearl. The student cooking class is part of an ongoing educational/leadership partnership between Bok Tower Gardens and the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS). Members of the media are invited to take pictures and video of the cooking class (and grab a slice or two).

Chef David Bearl, who joined UF/IFAS in December 2012, has been an ACF certified chef for more than 30 years, and has worked with the ACF Chef and the Child Foundation for many years. His passion is healthy cooking. “I would love to see every child receive fresh and nutritious food every day, and work to help families and school systems work towards that goal,” Bearl said.

Bearl trains program assistants in the UF/IFAS Family Nutrition Program, who then train Florida families on healthy cooking techniques. He is a chef for the Farm to School and Farm to Table programs. Bearl also trains public school system employees on how to prepare nutritious meals through the Smarter Lunchrooms program.

Besides demonstrations on healthy lunches, the chef is the administrator for two culinary programs: the SMA Behavioral Health Services Inc.’s Reality House Culinary Arts Program in Daytona Beach, Florida and the SMA Vince Carter Sanctuary – Project WARM (Women Assisting Recovering Mothers) in Bunnell, Florida.

Tricia Martin, Educational Director for Bok Tower Gardens has been instrumental in the creation of hands-on learning activities and leadership opportunities with area students. “This is the first cooking class in our Outdoor Kitchen and we are thrilled students from Bok Academy will be a part of the inaugural learning experience,” Martin said.

Martin works closely with UF/IFAS providing the community with educational outreach. “These students will discover a bounty of learning and leadership skills alongside one of Florida’s most accomplished chef educators. We are so fortunate to have Chef Bearl in our Outdoor Kitchen and I can’t wait for my sample with extra veggies,” Martin said.

Located adjacent to the Bok Tower Gardens Visitor Center, the Outdoor Kitchen and Edible Garden offers a modern design in harmony with the landscape and allows guests to enjoy a celebration of fresh food and culinary programming. The opening of this much anticipated area is part of the largest capital expansion campaign ever undertaken by the Gardens in its 87-year history.

More than $1.5 million dollars was raised to build the Kitchen, Gardens and Cindy and JD Alexander Discovery Center through an outpouring of individual gifts, corporate partnership with Danielle Fence and Outdoor Living, and support from the local business community. Construction took over 13 months to complete and the expansion adds nearly one acre of delicious food experiences for guests to enjoy.

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