What's on Tap

What's on Tap

The Chef's Academy spreads holiday cheer

Posted December 18, 2013

Duck with polenta and broccoli at The Chef's Academy.

— While the students at The Chef's Academy are hard at work, they're also busy spreading holiday cheer in the community.

Out & About was able to sit in on some classes at The Chef's Academy to learn about the school, its students and of course taste some food!

The school, located near RDU International Airport, churns out talented and passionate chefs who will work anywhere from local restaurants to Disney World, hotels, hospitals and airports. But while the chefs are in the Triangle, they aim to make a difference in the community.

Last weekend, chefs from the academy continued their tradition of preparing and delivering holiday meals to 12 local families in need. This program was started by one of the school's pastry chef instructors, Chef Sherry Stolfo.

"“This is a program that is incredibly close to my heart, as it encourages students to give back to a community that has given so much to us already,” said Stolfo.

The school is invested in community efforts year round. Since 2011, The Chef's Academy has raised more than 200,000 meals for families in need in collaboration with the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina. 

After acting as a waiter in his students' practical final, instructor Chef Rusty Nicholas shared a favorite holiday recipe.

"Holiday traditions are centered around food, and they offer an opportunity for family and friends to come together," Chef Rusty said.

Here is his recipe for Wassail, or Hot Spiced Cider. It's perfect for any holiday gathering on a cool winter day.


  • 3 quarts apple cider
  • 1 quart cranberry juice
  • Sachet with whole cloves, allspice, cinnamon sticks
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup orange juice


  1. Heat together and simmer for 15 minutes
  2. Garnish with orange studded with cloves
  3. Optional: add the liquor of your choice, such as dark rum or apple schnapps (but Chef Rusty recommends Fireball)

What are your favorite holiday recipes?


Please with your WRAL.com account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all