Chef Dawn Viola, winner of Food Network’s Cooks vs. Cons, shared professional and healthy living advice with students at FTC Kissimmee
Cooking nutritious recipes with fresh products, free of artificial additives, is the guiding principle of Chef Dawn Viola´s life and business. The Central Florida chef, who won the Food Network’s Cooks Vs. Cons competition earlier this year, recently visited FTC Kissimmee to share professional and healthy living advice with students.
“Education is the cornerstone of my success as a professional chef,” Viola said. “Make good use of your time here. Do something that scares you at least once a week. Challenge yourself. It’s a great way to learn about food and about yourself, and to grow.”
On July 20, 2017, Viola was the special guest of FTC’s Influencer Series, a monthly event open to all students and the public at large that features business and civic leaders from Central Florida as keynote speakers. She started her cooking career in a rather unconventional way. Ten years ago, while working as a copywriter and a documentary producer, she was diagnosed with severe allergies to a long list of foods. Viola set out to study culinary arts and nutrition for her own survival. What she discovered in the process left her stunned.
“We think that the amount of calories in a dish or whether there´s fat in it is very important,” explained the chef. “But the list of ingredients in that dish or product is even more important. If you cannot pronounce half of the ingredients when you start reading the label, put that product back on the shelf. That could be the reason you can’t lose weight or why you have health problems that you can’t explain. ”
Chef Peter Vossenberg, FTC´s Director of Hospitality Programs, said that Viola represents the versatility of a culinary arts degree. She is an executive chef with Tupperware, where she develops recipes that can be prepared with Tupperware products. Viola is also a successful entrepreneur. Additionally, her company, This Honest Food, educates and empowers people to eat and live healthier.
“A degree in culinary arts has hundreds of applications,” Vossenberg said. “We teach our students to think out of the box, dare to innovate, and do new and different things with the skills they are acquiring. Chef Viola is a testament to the fact that there are many possibilities.”
With six campuses statewide, including four campuses in Central Florida, Kissimmee, DeLand, Orlando and Lakeland, Florida Technical College offers diploma, associate, and bachelor’s degree programs in various fields, as well as culinary arts. For information about upcoming Influencer Series speakers, follow FTC on Facebook