• Happy News for one of our Students!

    We have wonderful, happy news to share with all of you!!

    One of the students from the Emeril Lagasse Full Circle Kitchen, Donnell, was just hired by Emeril's Coastal Italian!! 

    Donnell has been taking cooking classes with Food For Thought in the Full Circle Kitchen since he was a junior in high school and has had a passion for learning how to improve his culinary skills. We are so proud of Donnell for pursuing his dreams to work in the kitchen of a restaurant.

    This makes our hearts burst to know that all those involved with Food For Thought are making an impact on kid's lives who are involved in the FFT programs.

    Below photos:
    Donnell cooking at the Chi Chi Miguel Throwdown (April 2019) and helping with renovations at the DeFuniak Springs Pantry

    Thank you also to the Emeril Lagasse Foundation that supports and helps kids to make their dreams a reality.

    Posted by Katie Grace
  • Full Circle Kitchen in Full Swing for Summer!

    Our Emeril Lagasse Full Circle Kitchen continues to be busy with classes for kids, even with school out of session.  Each week we have had various organizations with students and kids join us for a cooking class.

    We had such a good time hosting the Youth Village Cooking class earlier this month while they learned how to make pizza's from scratch.  It is so great to see the kids take part and want to learn more about cooking on their own!

    We also have enjoyed hosting students from AMI Pensacola, while they made an easy "one-pot" ranch chicken meal, and love that they make the effort to drive the distance to join our cooking class.

    The Boys and Girl's Club has also been using our kitchen as part of their summer program.  Recently that created "Cheerio Clusters" and made eggs for a breakfast meal.

    We are so thankful for this kitchen that allows us to host kids of all ages to teach them how to cook an array of meals all on their own!

    Posted by Katie Grace
  • Volunteer Spotlight: Linda Koch



    All of us at Food For Thought are so thankful for the volunteers that help with all of our programs! Today, we would like to thank Linda Koch for all of her help that she has provided in the Emeril Lagasse Full Circle kitchen.  Please read below to find out what it means to Linda to volunteer at FFT:


    After retiring two years ago from PepsiCo in Dallas, Linda moved to Emerald Coast.  It was important to her to remain busy and to get involved in the community while she was retired. When Linda learned about Food For Thought Outreach, she knew that she had to get involved, and she loves that she is able to help kids to cook at the Santa Rosa Beach pantry, but her time volunteering has also showed her how important it is to get involved and give back as a retired person

    At a fund raising event Linda attended over a year ago, is when Linda first signed up to help in the Full Circle Kitchen.  She knew that she has enough knowledge about cooking and time to help, so decided to sign up that night.  

    Linda has been volunteering with Food For Thought for a year and a half and enjoys her time cooking with the kids.  She said that "seeing the excitement in their eyes when they are able to create food that tastes delicious to them," is what she enjoys the most.  And she has noticed that it builds the kid's confidence when they see how easy it is to make some of the food dishes that are taught to them and hopes that it gives the kids energy to try and cook more outside of the FFT Full Circle Kitchen. "When I hear them tell their friends they can’t wait to come back next week, I know we’ve done something good that day," said Linda. 

    Linda said that ever since she raised her hand at the fundraising event, she has been looking forward to every class that she has taught with the kids!

    We are very grateful for you, Linda and all of our volunteers!

    If you would like to sign up to volunteer, please contact us: volunteer@fftfl.org


    Posted by Katie Grace
  • Volunteer Spotlight: Marrow Private Chefs

    We are so thankful for our volunteers at here at Food For Thought, and love when people volunteer their passions and talents.  In addition to volunteer opportunities for the backpack program, we also use volunteers in the Full Circle Kitchen and Full Circle Garden.  Today, we would like to thank Richard McCord and Ryan McNay from Marrow Private Chefs for the time the have spent helping in the Full Circle Kitchen and share a little more about them:

    Richard & Ryan run Marrow Private Chefs, a boutique catering company that specializes in preparing restaurant quality, fine dining meals in your home.  These two became involved with FFT in the fall of 2018 while helping with Hurricane Michael relief, providing food to those affected by the hurricane.  After learning more about the FFT program, they both knew they wanted to continue to help in the Full Circle Kitchen to share their love of food and cooking.

    The Marrow guys have lead a quite a few cooking classes for students and they "love getting to interact with the kids! We have truly enjoyed the opportunity to share our passion for food and cooking with the next generation. Whether they have a desire to work in the culinary field or simply want to be a better home cook, it is great to work with kids that want to learn!"

    During one of the classes, they ventured to make homemade taffy, which the students absolutely loved, as well as Ryan and Richard.  They said, "Who doesn’t like homemade starburst?! Aside from that it is incredibly rewarding to work with folks who are so dedicated to helping others!"

    We truly are grateful for the Richard and Ryan who take the time out of their busy catering business to help teach and make an impact on the students who take part in the Full Circle Kitchen.

    You can learn more about how to become a volunteer HERE


    Posted by Katie Grace
  • Paula Deen Visits Food For Thought!

    Last week we at Food For Thought were honored to have Paula Deen stop by the Santa Rosa Beach Pantry! Paula and her foundation, The Bag Lady, graciously donated a $2,500 grant for Food for Thought.  

    We are excited that Paula Deen has opened up two new restaurants in our area, "Paula Deen's Family Kitchen," in Panama City as well as a location at the Destin Commons.  Her new restaurant will also be partnering with Food For Thought to donate un-used or leftover food to be used in the Full Circle Kitchen cooking classes.  This un-used food will be air-sealed so that it can be kept as fresh as possible for the cooking classes. 

    During her visit last week, Paula was able to see and help kids from the Walton Academy cook some of her very own recipes in the Full Circle Kitchen (pork chops and brussel sprouts), and she even leant a hand to the volunteer packing groups that were busy in the pantry prepping backpacks for the weekend.

    Paula Deen Helping in Full Circle Kitchen

    Before leaving, Paula was even so kind to share in a blessing of the meal the students from Walton Academy had prepared.

    We are so thankful for Paula Deen's generosity and look forward to working more together in the future to assist the children in our community.  

    You can find out more information on Paula's visit to her new restaurant on the local news site, WEARTV.

    Posted by Katie Grace