Florida Foodie: Edible Education Experience offers a seed-to-table look at food

Nonprofit offers classes for kids, adults

ORLANDO, Fla. – Edible Education Experience works to offer kids and adults a different perspective on the food they eat.

“We’re all about bringing people here for a seed-to-table experience, which is going to include the garden, and the kitchen could be including some harvesting,” said Erica Asti, a Culinary Educator with Edible Education Experience. “All of our programs — no matter if they’re for adults or kids or everything in between — are focused on building confidence, building skills, and creating a sense of community around food and around the table and around the experience of creating food.”

Asti came to Edible Education Experience after working at AdventHealth, mostly with children’s health and wellness programs — especially with the chef of the diabetes institute. While working there, she began volunteering with Edible.

“I was very lucky to train with Chef Allison, who was the previous chef here, and Chef Kevin Fonzo, who both prepared me very well for this job,” Asti said.

Edible Education Experience is situated in the College Park neighborhood in Orlando inside the Emeril Lagasse Foundation Kitchen House and Culinary Garden at 26 E. King St.

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“We’ve been here for about four years, and we’ve been a little bit of a hidden gem,” Asti said.

Edible started as a program at Orlando Junior Academy, founded by Brad Jones and chef Kevin Fonzo, but was able to grow with the assistance of Lagasse.

“Emeril came down and heard what our garden educator Brad Jones and what chef Kevin Fonzo from K Restaurant in College Park were doing,” Asti said. “They wanted to be so much more and wanted to be able to serve more students and adults. And so that’s how creating their own nonprofit kind of came about. And so, Emeril came down, saw that and linked up with AdventHealth and said, ‘Hey, you guys are here locally, I’m over in New Orleans. Let’s do this.’”

From there, the nonprofit has been able to offer a variety of classes and educational experiences, integrating subjects ranging from history to science, all based around food.

“It’s truly amazing to see the kids come here and harvest the greens, and make a salad and eat it all and go back for seconds. And so we really see a lot of picky eaters, we have picky eaters all the time, teenagers especially, and we are always seeing them trying new things here,” Asti said. “That’s the amazing part.”

Asti shares more of what Edible Educational Experience has to offer on the latest episode of Florida Foodie. She also shares more about her own food journey and how the nonprofit was able to adapt to the pandemic.

Please follow our Florida Foodie hosts on social media. You can find Candace Campos on Twitter and Facebook. Lisa Bell is also on Facebook and Twitter and you can check out her children’s books, “Norman the Watchful Gnome.”

Florida Foodie is a bi-weekly podcast from WKMG and Graham Media that takes a closer look at what we eat, how we eat it and the impact that has on us here in Florida and for everyone, everywhere.

Find new episodes on Apple podcasts, Stitcher or wherever you download your favorite podcasts.

About the Author:

Thomas Mates is a digital storyteller for News 6 and ClickOrlando.com. He also produces the podcast Florida Foodie. Thomas is originally from Northeastern Pennsylvania and worked in Portland, Oregon before moving to Central Florida in August 2018. He graduated from Temple University with a degree in Journalism in 2010.