Photo of Chef Ashlyn

Food for Thought is proud to welcome our first Full-Time Culinary Instructor, Chef Ashlyn Hicks. Born and raised in the Florida Panhandle, Ashlyn is focused on giving back to her local community through the kitchen. Growing up, she learned to cook with her mother and grandmother and soon realized that teaching and food were her biggest passions. She felt that being a Culinary Instructor would allow her to meld the two with her desire to serve her hometown. 

Although she has lived for a short time in other states, no other place ever felt like home so she decided to advance her culinary education at Northwest Florida State College. Investing in a formal education meant being able to learn the “why” behind the recipes. It also gave her the tools to build strong foundational knowledge that she would be able to pass on to her students.

Ashlyn first learned about Food for Thought in high school and recognized that the work being done was important for the community. Working here allows her the opportunity to work with a purpose but in the Emeril Lagasse Foundation Full Circle Kitchen Ashlyn says her job rarely feels like work, “Being able to see the impact and the smiles when the kids are eating the food they’ve made is one of the best parts.” Her goal as an instructor is to show students that cooking doesn’t need to be intimidating.

Ashlyn is looking forward to her career at Food for Thought and is excited to see her growth as a chef while building relationships within the community.

Photo of our Chef welcoming students into the kitchen for class Photo of our Chef working in the kitchen demonstrating knife skills to a group of students Photo of our Chef teaching student how to make a refreshing drink

Just for Fun:

If you could cook with anyone who would it be?

Julia Child. She was a strong woman in the kitchen who paved the way for other female chefs. She never backed down. She went from knowing nothing about cooking to being one of the most well-known chefs in the world.

What is your favorite meal to cook and eat?

Apple Sage Pork Medallions

If you could ban one ingredient from the kitchen what would it be?


What is the most fun thing you’ve prepared?

For a culinary school project, I made 140 petit fours with a cotton candy dome that dissolved when sprayed with water to reveal a butterfly. They were lemon, blueberry, and hibiscus and represented my evolution as a chef.