Cheftacular event organizers
This year, Chef Carter, Chef Chad Young, students and the Culinary Arts Booster Club entertained 450 guests who grazed among 18 student-chef teams at Cheftacular.

Cheftacular: Carmel High School’s Culinary Event Delights Guests and Gives Back to the Community

This is the sixth time that parents, supporters, teachers and local leaders broke bread together at the Cheftacular table. The event was cooked up by Chef Nick Carter one year after joining Carmel High School (CHS) as a culinary instructor. Having come from another school corporation where students were able to gain commercial kitchen exposure, Chef Carter wanted a real-world experience for his new Carmel students.

If you have not had the pleasure of dining at Cheftacular, it is a pairing of local restaurant chefs with students, who work together over the semester to learn more about what it means to prepare food for the public. The icing on the cake for the chef-student teams is to prepare a dish to be served to the public during Cheftacular night. It was inspirational for me to watch students carefully fashion each plate under the watchful eye of their mentor chef.

Chef Nick Carter and Jeff Worrell
Jeff Worrell with Chef Nick Carter, culinary instructor at Carmel High School.

The first year, 85 mostly parent attendees enjoyed the creations of six student-chef teams. This year, Chef Carter, Chef Chad Young, students and the Culinary Arts Booster Club entertained 450 guests who grazed among 18 student-chef teams. The crowd also generated enough money to whip up a $4,000 donation to the Hamilton County Harvest Food Bank.

“This event was started to raise awareness about a wonderful career opportunity for students,” Chef Carter said. “It ended up being a win for the kids and a win for the community.”

“Cheftacular is a wonderful opportunity to involve the community in our school programming,” said Nancy Spencer, family and consumer sciences department chair at Carmel High School. “Having local chefs and restaurants work with our students is a valuable resource that we continually work on strengthening. There is a push by the state to create more work-based learning opportunities for our students. Cheftacular and other community culinary events help connect our students to these opportunities.”

Carmel High School is expanding the resources available to students who take a class from Chef Carter or Chef Young as they are building a new commercial kitchen.

student chef team at carmel high school
18 student-chef teams entertained 450 guests at Cheftacular.

“The new kitchen will allow us to give students experience in an environment that is truly authentic as they discern if this is a career path they want to pursue,” Carter said.

One former student who did pursue such a path is Emily Daily, who proudly returned to CHS this year as a mentor chef. Chef Carter was quick to highlight her as an example of success.

“She is the reason we do this,” Carter said.

And that’s a recipe worth saving.

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