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Chef Durio’s taste for perseverance inspires LLA student chefs at Creole Festival

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“We have a hurricane of our own in San Francisco,” said Principal Teri Delane from the festival’s main stage. Joined by a dozen students, she shared with the crowd why,

By Justin Warren

In 2005, Chef Joe Durio lost everything to hurricane Katrina. Everything except his taste for helping people by cooking creole food.

When the storm ravaged New Orleans, he used cooking as a form of therapy, spending more than a year preparing hot meals for survivors, aid workers, and members of community rebuilding teams.

In recognition of his effort, the city of New Orleans and the state of Louisiana named him Chef of the Year. President Obama presented him with an Unsung Hero Award. In New Orleans, he did rebuild.

After a visit to Life Learning Academy in August to learn about how the school’s Culinary Arts program helps students rebuild their lives, Durio invited LLA to participate in the third annual Creole United Festival in Sausalito, CA.

“We have a hurricane of our own in San Francisco,” said Principal Teri Delane from the festival’s main stage. Joined by a dozen students, she shared with the crowd why, as chef Durio had a decade before, she has dedicated her life to rebuilding and helping others do the same.

 

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Top: Chef Durio tours the LLA garden in August. Above: LLA Principal Teri Delane and students on stage at the Creole Fesitval. 

 

“All I ask,” she explained, “is that you push yourself in the right direction, and that you give a commitment to nonviolence.” 

“We are making a difference by teaching kids that they have to give back to our community, and that is what we all have to do to take care of our youth,” Delane said.

 

We have a hurricane of our own in San Francisco — Principal Teri Delane

 

LLA student volunteers staffed the festival, assisting with accommodations for performers, tabling the school’s booth which offered student-made pralines, and cooking.

“We got to try crawfish, which I never really seen that before,” said Destiny, 16, who participated in the event. She enjoyed tasting various new foods, and seeing how people make them.
An impromptu dance session broke out, she said, and the day finished with “all us just laughing, dancing, and all positive vibes.”

 

LLA Workforce Development Manager Talia Benet contributed to this report.