Eastside High School chef named finalist for national award

Updated: May. 21, 2021 at 4:43 PM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - An Alachua County educator is earning national recognition both for her work with students and her culinary expertise.

Eastside High School’s Chef Pam Bedford was recently chosen as one of four finalists for the American Culinary Federation’s Chef Educator of the Year award.

Bedford has been with Eastside for 14 years and has helped hundreds of students find jobs, earn scholarships and gain admission into culinary arts colleges. Many of whom are now working in restaurants and hospitality services nationwide.

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“It’s a lot of encouragement. It’s a lot of pushing them to do their best,” Bedford said. “You know, they come in and they don’t know what they’re getting into. It’s a big commercial kitchen in there, it’s a lot of intimidation, a lot of big equipment, a lot of expectations. And I just encourage them every day. ‘You can do this. This is not hard. Look at me do it. I can do it, you can do it. Let’s do it together.’”

“They’re my kids...and that’s it. I just, I adore everything they do. The little victories, the big victories. I’m their biggest cheerleader. I am always standing on the sidelines cheering them on.”

A competition will be held between the four finalists in Orlando in August. The winner will be named on August 5.

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