From Home Kitchen to Culinary School A Self-Taught Chef's Impactful Story
Image Source: Jacksonville Free Press

From Home Kitchen to Culinary School: A Self-Taught Chef’s Impactful Story

Tamika Wolfe, a graduate of Westside High, discovered her love for cooking at the age of 10 under the guidance of her grandmother. Engaging in a friendly cooking competition with her sister, Tamika consistently faced defeat, prompting her to reconsider her approach to preparing meals.

Over the years, she dedicated herself to refining her culinary skills through recipe experimentation. Eventually, Tamika decided to share her passion by opening Tamika’s School of Epicure on the Westside.

The aim of the school is to impart her knowledge to local children, educating them on the joys of cooking. Through food and cooking, the school strives to promote health, provide nutritional education, and contribute to social change.

“Our vision is for Jacksonville to be a healthy, vibrant, and economically stable place with thriving families,” said founder Tamika Wolfe.

The culinary school not only arranges weekly food distribution for those in need but also conducts six-week culinary cohorts for two specific age groups: 6 to 18-year-olds and adults aged 18 to 26 transitioning from foster care or dealing with disabilities. These cohorts focus on imparting fundamental cooking skills, handling kitchen tools, engaging in gardening, participating in field trips, and creating recipes. Upon completing the six-week program, participants earn a Selfserv certification and receive assistance in securing full-time employment in the culinary industry through connections with relevant organizations.

Wolfe’s positive impact on the local community and youth earned her a runner-up position in Sprouts Farmers Market’s ‘Nominate Your Neighbor’ campaign, along with a $500 gift card to Sprouts. This initiative acknowledges individuals who demonstrate kindness, goodwill, and a commitment to serving others, while promoting a healthy lifestyle.

The classes are free for local youth, and the upcoming cohort begins on January 19th. To enroll, please visit

With more than two years of expertise in news and analysis, Eileen Stewart is a seasoned reporter. Eileen is a respected voice in this field, well-known for her sharp reporting and insightful analysis. Her writing covers a wide range of subjects, from politics to culture and more.