March 27, 2017

“Taste of Mesa” Event Will Feature Celebrity Chefs and Locally Sourced Food – Literally

By Office of Communications

“Taste of Mesa” Event Will Feature Celebrity Chefs and Locally Sourced Food – Literally

San Diego, CA ---- The two celebrity guest chefs who will be participating in “Taste of Mesa,” San Diego Mesa Colleges cooking-show style fundraiser, will now be able to use locally sourced herbs and vegetables, thanks to Culinary Outlooks new rooftop garden.


“We are serious about sustainability and using locally sourced foods whenever possible,” stated Mesa College Assistant Culinary Arts Professor Tonya Whitfield. “We were fortunate enough so far to get everything donated by our industry partners. What better way to stay local than to plant your own garden using local resources?”


The new rooftop garden features cauliflower, leeks, watermelon, honeydew, carrots, turnips, a variety of heirloom tomatoes (black, orange, pineapple),cabbage, kale, and chard. Chef Flor Franco helped Mesa faculty organize and plan the garden, and she collaborated with two master Gardeners from San Diego on the choice of plants. Sergio, Head Gardener from Michelle Lerach’s estate assisted Culinary students as they planted. All the compost was generous donated from Jack Ford’s farm in conjunction with HIS STEM Director Leticia Lopez from SEEDS.


Celebrity guests attending the fundraiser, scheduled for the evening of Thursday April 6, are Kevin Templeton, Executive Chef of Barleymash, San Diego Celebrity Chef 2014-15 and recently featured on Food Network’s ‘Beat Bobby Flay’, along with Maeve, founder and owner of Sugar and Scribe, Food Network Champion 2015 and winner of Best Bakery, Best New Restaurant La Jolla.


“Taste of Mesa” will showcase Culinary Outlook, and feature internationally-inspired cuisine and three cook-off competitions between alumni, students and an advanced baking team. Guests will be able to bid on food-themed silent auction items such as restaurant gift cards, liquors, wine and culinary tools. VIP ticketholders are invited to judge the culinary competitions, watch the celebrity chef competition, and receive a culinary gift bag. Culinary Outlook, housed in the new Mesa Commons, was funded by voters via Propositions S and N.


The proceeds from “Taste of Mesa” will be used to purchase ingredients and supplies that will help train students for the farm to table style restaurants that are becoming more common in today’s market and prepare them to become valued employees in the service industry. 


Tickets for the Taste of Mesa are $25 for students, $50 for General Admission and $125 for VIP.  For  tickets, visit For sponsorship opportunities, contact Anne Zacovic at For alumni involvement, contact Professor Tonya Whitfield at  


Tags: Press Release, Culinary Arts, Taste of Mesa