Chef Emeril Lagasse Visits OJA

Emeril at OJA-55

Farmers plant seeds.  As the seeds leave the farmer’s rugged hand, the wind might take some to rocky or thin soil.  A hungry bird may take another seed.  But sometimes a miracle happens.  That seed finds the good soil and the tiny germ of life discovers it’s purpose and transforms.  What was once just a small tiny round husk sprouts roots that dig into the earth and stems that reach to the heavens.

Emeril at OJA-30 Emeril at OJA-21 Emeril at OJA-23




Orlando Junior Academy planted a seed, literally and figuratively, when they adopted the Edible Schoolyard (ESY) program.  ESY involves turning an outdoor garden into a classroom.  It took risk to turn land that could have been used for more buildings into something that most schools do not have.  But that risk has paid off in, ahem, spades.  On Thursday, because of the Edible Schoolyard, OJA received national attention when famous chef, restaurateur, and TV personality Emril Lagasse came to visit Orlando Junior Academy while taping segments for his TV show.  Emeril, who is often referred to by his first name alone, is best known for his Food Network show Emeril Live and his catchphrases “Let’s kick it up a notch,: and “Bam!”  Emeril toured the school and was a guest “teacher” for the school’s kitchen classroom.  Taylor Monday, a student in 5th grade said, “It was different and it was interesting to have someone famous help in the classroom.”  Mrs. Agbonkhese, principal of OJA, was honored to have Emeril at the school.  “It doesn’t get much better than this.”

It’s exciting to see how this small seed has grown and it will thrilling to see what blossoms next.  Visit for more photos.

Emeril at OJA-47Emeril at OJA-48Emeril at OJA-49Emeril at OJA-50Emeril at OJA-54

Emeril at OJA-56