Teresa Vernon is a natural entrepreneur, She has created several successful business models within food & beverage, as well as in construction and real estate. Teresa’s experience in catering made running The Mardi Gras School of Cooking a natural transition. Although Teresa is not a chef, she does love and appreciate good food. When Teresa moved to New Orleans in 2010, she fell in love with the city, the people, and the Cajun and Creole food. Before moving to New Orleans, Teresa had no experience of the Louisiana culture or cuisine, but Chef Bond taught her to appreciate good food and exactly what New Orleans culture was all about. She now owns a historical home in Algiers Point where she operates an B & B and runs The Mardi Gras School of Cooking from the Southern Food & Beverage Museum. It is her mission to show students the Laissez les bons temps rouler attitude of the locals, and the love of a preparing a fabulous southern meal for friends and family.
Born in Monroe, Louisiana, I was raised in New Orleans surrounded by Creole and Caribbean cultures within my family. After high school, I chose to join the military. During these years I was able to learn what my true passions are. I figured the best interest to base your career choices from should be your core interests and passions. I've always loved art in many forms, For example, I would collect my mothers Victoria secret books and draw the models. When it comes to food, I always loved experimental cooking and plate presentation. I constructed a full scale plan for my career choices and got out of the military to start. My plan is to establish myself as a chef and artist. I want to start private food clubs as well as be a private chef to elite clientele. In 2015 I won the Chefs Move scholarship presented by Chef John Besh, in which I flew to New York and attended the International Culinary Center and graduated top of the class! I’ve competed in various cooking competitions from St. Pellegrino’s, Almost Famous Chef Competition to the TV show, Chopped. I've also developed several measures to give back to the community someway through each of my respected arts. As a chef I work with different programs at grade schools and colleges to teach our youth about different cultures of food and healthier ways. And, as an artist, I often donate pieces to charitable events promoting various themes, such as ending gun violence. I am an investor in the Parisite Skatepark and also the program director for a project designed to paint the entrance to the park. I believe giving back through your crafts is just as important as continuing to learn.
Having moved to southeast Louisiana at age 11 from Orange County, CA I immediately fell in love with the culture of the area. Growing up in the more rural parts that is St. Tammany Parish, I was able to experience a great deal of the outdoors. With Louisiana being so culturally rich I begin digging into its history, reading as many books as I could, and developing an interest in what makes Louisiana so unique. Upon graduating Fontainebleau High School in Mandeville, LA I studied Culinary Arts at Delgado Community College. Over the past 7 years I was fortunate in working alongside some of the areas most talented chefs. From Del Porto, Domenica, Le Petite Grocery, Baru, Le Foret, and Root Restaurant I developed an interesting set of culinary knowledge. I’ve always considered myself a Culinarian as opposed to being a chef. As a culinarian your main focus is developing an understanding of culture using food as your permeable membrane. Anywhere you will find yourself in this world you will gain the best understanding of culture through a quality meal with a resident of the region and/or city. Continuing education was always the end goal. This past year, 2018, I stepped out of the grind that is restaurant kitchens and reinvested my skills and knowledge into this city which has given me so much. When I am not conducting classes with the Mardi Gras School of Cooking, I am usually on a bicycle or exploring the outdoors. Recently I biked nearly 1,000 miles through Cuba where I was able to explore the country and its version of Creole, (criolla), cuisine. The similarities between Cuba and Louisiana were eye-opening. Working as a part-time bicycle tour guide is a rewarding experience, by sharing knowledge of America’s most unique city through its history and cuisine. In addition to tour guiding, I am photographer and social justice advocate working with incarcerated juveniles throughout New Orleans, offering them a creative outlet when they are behind bars.
A transplant from Chicago, John F. Kennedy, aka JFK found his way to New Orleans just before Hurricane Katrina. He has worked in several industries; ask him about his diving or bartending adventures! Some years ago JFK was hurt and unable to work and he landed on Chef Bond’s door step. Today, he is a crucial part of every class whether he is helping the Chefs get the kitchen ready for class or assisting the Chefs during class. He is very much depended upon and appreciated for his hard work and dedication.