We would like to welcome Chef Jessica Bright on board as the resident Kelapo Chef! Chef Jessica will be sharing her passion for coconut oil and all of her great recipes with you for the next 6 months. You can look forward to a new recipe from her every month. Get excited, I know I am! Read below to learn a little more about Chef Jessica and her background.
Jessica Bright has a passion for encouraging home cooks to explore new flavors. As a Food and Nutrition Educator and trained chef, with live radio and regular television appearances on local morning shows, she conducts cooking classes, makes annual appearances at The Southern Women’s Show, and has added contributions to several cookbooks.
Originally from a small farm in southeastern North Carolina, Jessica learned early on to appreciate the land and what it could grow. From her father, she learned about fish by working in the seafood market he owned. From time spent with her grandparents, she learned many past arts. Craving the chance to watch things grow, she founded “Mandarin Garden Club Bumblebees,” a junior gardening club.
Fat Chance by Julie Hadden, a Season 4 finalist on NBC’s The Biggest Loser, includes recipes that Jessica created as healthy alternatives to Hadden’s favorite foods. She also provided the recipes and commentary for The Shannon Miller Healthy and Balanced Pregnancy Cookbook.
Additionally, Bright acted as a consultant for The Biggest Loser Dessert Cookbook by Devin Alexander. She is the featured Chef in A Hearty Helping of Quality Time – a cookbook to benefit the Florida Baptist Children’s Home. She is currently in the process of developing other cookbook projects for publication.
Bright is a certified Master Food and Nutrition Educator through the University of Florida and the Duval County Extension Service. She has served as an executive chef for First Coast Supply. As a product spokesperson for General Electric appliances, she provided unique recipes, created cooking classes and demonstrations for clientele, and appeared in a weekly morning show segment to showcase GE appliances.
In 2010 Jessica was chosen by Unilever as a spokesperson in their national campaign to promote their Breyers Sundae Showcase contest. For this campaign she created unique recipes, offered cooking tips featuring the Breyers All Natural line of ice cream products and conducted a media tour of local morning shows and print media including: WAWS, WTEV, WJXT, WJXX, WTLV, The Florida Times Union, Jacksonville Magazine, Coastal Angler Magazine, HealthSource Magazine, and The Mandarin Sun.
When not cooking, Jessica is involved in the community and works closely with non-profit organizations including Family Support Services of North Florida and Second Harvest. In November 2009, the Governor of Florida presented the “Point of Light” Award for her efforts to promote Adoption awareness. In 2009 President Obama awarded her the Presidential “Call to Service.” For her community involvement, Hands-on Jacksonville recognized her in April 2010.
At Walt Disney World, Jessica earned a “Ducktorate” degree for her participation in the College and International Program with Disney University. She also worked in Guest Relations and with Disney Special Activities. Jessica is a natural educator with an appealing presence that shines through on stage, on air, and in person. She is as comfortable teaching adults as she is teaching children of all ages. For the last eight years she has facilitated a “cooking camp” for children in her home during the summer break. She also enthusiastically teaches food-related activities for many groups in the community.
Though Jessica is involved in many varied activities, her top priority is her family. She has two children, Max and Madeline, ages 9 and 4, who often help in the kitchen. There is rarely a quiet moment in their kitchen.
Welcome Jessica! We can’t wait to see what you have in store for us and our readers!