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Tampa Bay and Sarasota's Leading Local News: Weather, Traffic, Sports and more | Tampa Bay and Sarasota, FL | WTSP.com

Chefs battle to raise money for culinary school

Proceeds from the Tampa Bay Food Fight will provide scholarships for Metropolitan Ministries’ Culinary Arts Program.

SAINT PETERSBURG, Fla. — Metropolitan Ministries’ Culinary Arts Program has the recipe for success. “It’s life changing,” said Deatrice Clark, who completed the 16-week course in 2019.

The whole idea behind the culinary program, is to teach people the kitchen skills necessary to become self-sufficient. It’s been successful. Over the past seven years, hundreds of graduates have gotten jobs at local restaurants and resorts.

Clark even opened her own café at Tampa Mall’s outdoor food court.

But despite its success, the future of the Culinary Arts Program is in jeopardy. Because of COVID-19, the program’s major fundraiser, the Tampa Bay Food Fight is forced to go virtual.

The battle between chef teams from St. Petersburg and Tampa will be livestreamed from 7 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 15. For more information and to watch the Food Fight, click here.

Viewers can watch the program for free, but organizers hope they will also participate in the auctions and donate to support the Culinary Arts Program. In order to put 100 students through the school next year, the fundraising goal is $150,000.

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About Kendall: 

Kendall Kirkham joined “Great Day Live” in November 2017 from Memphis, Tennessee, where she served as morning co-anchor for WMC Action News 5. Prior to her stint in Memphis, Kendall served as co-host of "Tulsa Live" at KOKI in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Kendall also worked at KETK in Tyler, Texas, The Dallas Morning News and started her career as an intern for “The Ellen Show” and E! Entertainment.

Kendall has interviewed countless celebrities and notable figures, from Bob Woodward to Arsenio Hall, John Travolta and Paula Deen. She’s hit 9 Gs with the U.S. Airforce Thunderbirds, raised money for various charities in three local “Dancing with the Stars” competitions, and even played a gangster on stage for a traveling Broadway show. Kendall is most proud of her work with St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. She continues to support the hospital in various capacities today.

Kendall is a proud Texas native. She grew up in the Fort Worth area and graduated from Texas Christian University with a degree in Radio/TV/Film.

Kendall is thrilled to join the “Great Day Live” team and is having a ball highlighting this thriving community. She hopes to bring a smile to viewers at home every single day. In her spare time, Kendall enjoys exploring the countless sights, sounds and eats of Tampa Bay with her husband Jason and son Knox.

About Java: 

Java Ingram is a New Orleans native/Texan and is excited to call Florida home! Prior to joining the “Great Day Live” team, Java served as host of a lifestyle-entertainment show in Birmingham, Alabama. She also woke up dark and early, weekday mornings to help drivers make it to their destinations safely as a traffic anchor.

Java started her on-air broadcast career in the birthplace of Elvis Presley, Tupelo, Mississippi. In Tupelo, she served as morning news anchor, producer and reporter.

Javanté is an award-winning journalist, having been recognized by the Associated Press for Best Anchor, Best Reporter and Best Franchise Reporting, just to name a few.

When she's not working, Java is very passionate about giving back to the community, having served on the corporate boards for The Boys and Girls Club of North Mississippi, The Civic Ballet Company, The Doniphan Dance Project and the Leadership Council for the Boys and Girls Club of Central Alabama. She has volunteered also with a number of civic organizations.