How These Top Chiles Group Chef’s Support Aspiring Local Culinary Students


With a dash of time and abundance of caring, local top Chefs from The Chiles Group are sharing their expertise with local area students that aspire to one day work alongside the talented staff at The Sandbar, Mar Vista, and Beach House Restaurants.

The Chiles Group offers three unique waterfront restaurants but all have one thing in common. A staff that historically produces world-class memorable experiences for its customers. With Gamble Creek Farm, an organic 26-acre farm of fruits, vegetables, and flowers and a bakery now in the mix the collection of businesses often collaborate to improve their food offering.

As a proud member of the community, the Chiles Group partners with local organizations and businesses to better the surrounding area and the people of it. One program that touches the core of our efforts in the community supports local students through a culinary program at Southeast High School.

Chef Jacque Allen, an instructor from Southeast High School heads up the four-level culinary program in Bradenton, Florida and while there are four levels of the program, it’s fair to say that with each level of advancement brings new experiences and skill-sets for the students. From basic classes that teach sanitization and the proper use of equipment to more hands-on food preparation and creation, students get to visualize the demands and opportunities in the culinary arts.

The Team Celebrates at Mar Vista

Once these classes have filled, those still interested may join the Culinary Club. The club is an accelerated version of Culinary 1-4 and is conducted working off-site events, outside of school hours, in exchange for volunteer points. The students also volunteer 60 hours per year working on various events.

One student in the program named Tuyen Le shared “I wanted to be a bartender but have gotten more confidence with cooking so have changed directions. My classmates have become my closest friends.”

Chef Jacque Allen searched for nine years to find a local partnership for her program and finally found one in the Chiles Group. Now in its third year, “They teach the kids valuable skills such as how to bone a chicken or filet a fish. They also cook with them and provide all the ingredients including fresh produce from Gamble Creek Farm” stated Chef Jacque. “They always bring extras so that the kids can bring them home. The kids love it!”

What started with Chef Rich at the SandBar has grown! “We started at The Sandbar Restaurant with Chef Rich, and recently moved to Mar Vista after he transferred there” Explained Chef Jacque.  Chef Rich, Chef Horatio, and Sous Chef’s Zack and Dillon have all participated, visiting the school twice a month working with the students in each class.”

What’s next for the students? A field trip to Gamble Creek Farm to truly immerse in the farm to table concept.  Students learn about planting and are given an opportunity for a hands-on farming experience. At the end of the session, the student will enjoy a freshly picked farm to table lunch prepared by one of the Chefs on the grounds.

“The main reason we started working with Southeast High School is so that we can get in front of these kids that are interested in the culinary arts, and provide them with a career path” stated Chef Rich.  Chef Jacque couldn’t agree more “90% of them will work in a restaurant at one time, and this opens the door for that opportunity. They take away great skills!”

For more information on how you can support or contribute to this amazing program, contact Chef Jacque at Southeast High School at 941-741-3366.

Congratulations to the following 2020 High School students who have successfully completed at least three years in the Culinary Arts program;

  • Ellie Smythe – Two years club and class
  • Aurora Standish – Two years club and class
  • Tuyen Le – Two years club and class
  • Mariela Ramirez – Two years club and class
  • Des’Ree McDaniel – Three years club
  • Jasmine McDaniel – Three years club
  • Camila Huanca – Two years club and class
  • Kaithlyne Nguyen – Four years club
  • Carlos Garacia Hernandez – Four years club and class