HOLIDAY — It has been a long-held tradition for Bob Wright to cap off Black History Month by having his students whip up a little soul food luncheon for faculty and friends.
He did it for four years as the culinary teacher at Land O'Lakes High, and after that at Tarpon Springs High, where he taught the art of food for five years. So it was a no-brainer to offer the culinary students at Anclote High, now in its first year, the chance to learn something about the culture of food and perhaps share some of their own family recipes.
Especially after he got a whiff of the enthusiasm from his own students.
Chanae Wallace, 14, was eager to take on the role of "chef de partie" for the event.
"It's Black History Month so we wanted to do something to show how we cook and how our culture is based off our food," she said while moving from station to station in the school kitchen to check on the progress of others.
On the menu?
Collard greens, mac and cheese, jambalaya, gumbo and fried chicken and catfish.
It was no doubt a collaborative effort, a bevy of activity as students prepared for their luncheon guests, setting tables and piling pans of food in the oven to keep warm.
Tiona Sanders, 15, Ariel Brooks, 16, and Ariana Turner, 15, spent some good time chatting and stripping chicken thighs for gumbo. Terrianna Taylor, 16, basted trays of baby back ribs, a family recipe that her mom sent in.
Kierra Sullivan and Destinee Scott, both 16, made lemonade. Angelica Pohjola, 16, and Alexa Anover, 15, said they were okay with being in charge of dish detail as they sprayed down pans and cutting boards used by others.
"We don't mind," Alexa said. "Everyone has to do it at one time or another."
"This is great," said Jaymes Mitchell, 16, as he chopped up more chicken for gumbo. "I'm doing something I love. I'm doing something I want to go to school for."