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Celebrity Chefs Guy Fieri, Robert Irvine, and Emeril Lagasse, Coming to Wilmington for GLOW campus Opening
The Girls Leadership Academy of Wilmington (GLOW) is on track for a new campus opening in September, with a trio of the well distinguished culinary stars on deck to help celebrate. GLOW has announced plans to celebrate the opening of the new campus with Food Network’s Celebrity Chefs, Emeril Lagasse, Guy Fieri, and Robert Irvine. Each of the three chefs have individually helped raise funds for the campus at their annual celebrity chef events: Emeril Lagasse in 2016, Guy Fieri in 2018, and Robert Irvine in 2019. The celebrity chef events were made possible by GLOW Academy Founder Judy Girard, who was president of the Food Network from 1994 to 2004.
It’s no surprise that the famous chefs were booked for this event, as they have individually gone the extra mile to raise funds for the school. In 2016, celebrity chef for hire Emeril Lagasse lent his skills, talents and more to three culinary events, also covered the cost of his staff, travel, and food he prepared. Between three separate events, $264,000 was raised to benefit GLOW. “[The dinner was] to kick-start some cash, which is always important when launching a project like this, and it was amazing to see how much support was gathered from the community, as well as the breakfast that I just came from . . . and now the lunch,” Chef Lagasse said in a press conference before guests arrived. Lagasse prepared a special menu, locally sourced where possible and recipes inspired by his book, “Essential Emeril”—of which guests were given a copy of as a parting gift. While he currently has a platform on the Cooking Channel and pops by other shows like “Top Chef,” he has another passion beyond the kitchen. In 2002 he started the Emeril Lagasse Foundation alongside his wife Alden. The foundation has granted more than $6 million to children’s charities and projects focused on nutrition, culinary and arts programs. A multitude of programs of the foundation includes outdoor classrooms, gardens, fresh food cafeterias, and teaching kitchens throughout various across its home base of New Orleans, the Gulf Coast, as well as Las Vegas and Orlando.
While in town filming his popular TV show Diners, Drive-ins and Dives in January 2018, celebrity chef for hire Guy Fieri attended the third annual GLOW fundraiser event at the Landfall Country Club. The organizers were pleased to announce that Fieri was especially hands-on during the fundraising event that he attended in — manning the kitchen, working with the culinary team to prep late Thursday night and early Friday morning. Between all of the fundraising events, academy founder Judy Girard said Fieri had only a few hours of sleep the night before. “I like being around powerful people and I like being around people that are making things happen, people making commitments,” Fieri said. “I told the young ladies, “I came all the way from California. I don’t know any of you. But I know what you’re about. And I know what we’re trying to do. And we all have to bring each other up. That’s what community is all about.”
Last but most certainly not least, GLOW booked celebrity chef and talk show host on a variety of Food Network programs, Robert Irvine, to attend the school’s fourth annual Celebrity Chef Events fundraiser in February 2019. Celebrity chef for hire Robert Irvine created the menu, sourcing ingredients and supervised by both Food Network and a locally-sourced staff of Wilmington chefs, while he entertained guests with stories from behind the scenes of his career as a celebrated chef, author, restauranteur, and television personality. Irvine says he was so impressed by the maturity and intelligence of the students that he wanted to help with funding. “Whatever you do, I’m in, whether it be financial aid, whether it be cooking, whether it be showing up being an advocate because I truly believe if you know anything about me, I don’t put my name on anything I don’t own,” he said. “I truly believe in what they’re doing.” In addition to his philanthropy work with GLOW, Chef Irvine boasts over 28 years of culinary experience around the world. As an award-winning Chef, Robert Irvine is best known for hosting some of the Food Network’s highest rated shows including Restaurant: Impossible in addition to Dinner: Impossible. Currently, he hosts a video recipe series on BodyBuilding.com and is a regular guest on national daytime shows. He is also the author of Impossible to Easy and Mission: Cook, gourmet cookbooks for home chefs, and has booked endorsement deals with Fit Fuel, a healthy living guide. In 2013, he added entrepreneur to his resume after he launched FitCrunch protein bars, brownies, and powders followed by Robert Irvine Foods, a line of nutritional food products in 2015. An avid supporter of the nation’s military, Chef Irvine established The Robert Irvine Foundation in 2014 to support veterans and military causes. He is the first celebrity chef to open a restaurant, Robert Irvine’s Fresh Kitchen, in the Pentagon in 2016. In 2017, celebrity chef Irvine opened a Gold’s Gym franchise in Largo, Florida and Robert Irvine’s Public House offering elevated pub fare at the Tropicana Las Vegas in addition to teaming up with Boardroom Spirits as co-owner to provide ‘better for you’ spirits.
The three chefs will be returning to GLOW in September to attend a gala reception with tickets available for donors and sponsors of the academy for $250 each. The academy’s mission is to close the achievement and opportunity gaps plaguing low-income families in the community. The only school in North Carolina of its kind, GLOW is a part of the national Young Women’s Leadership Network that strives to equalize education and achieve success through a proven educational model. According to the school’s president Todd Godbey, “Our vision is that she will graduate, go to college and succeed in life. GLOW is education empowerment and is very specifically focused on girls who might otherwise fall through the cracks.” After launching it’s constructing mid-May 2018, GLOW is finally finishing construction of its middle and high school campus which is set to be opened at the start of the 2019-2020 school year.
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