Welcome Chef Julia Duke to Lighthouse Christian School!
Learn more about our fantastic new Food Services Director and the journey that led her to Lighthouse:
Chef Julia "Juels" Duke, a proud native of Columbia, Tennessee, discovered her passion for cooking at an early age. Sneaking into her grandmother's kitchen, she immersed herself in family recipes, laying the foundation for her culinary journey. Her love for soul-filled cooking and the pursuit of culinary excellence has only grown stronger over the years.
Education and Training for Culinary Excellence: Chef Juels's commitment to her craft led her to pursue formal education in the culinary arts. At the age of 23, she obtained a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration from Middle Tennessee State University. Seeking to refine her skills, she furthered her culinary education at the renowned Randy Rayburn Culinary Arts program in Nashville, TN. In pursuit of culinary mastery, she had the privilege of training under esteemed chefs at Caesar's Palace Resort & Casino in Las Vegas.
Catering Success and Adaptability: In 2017, Chef Juels organized her first food tasting event, realizing the profound impact her cooking had on people's lives. Inspired by this experience, she officially launched her catering business in 2018. With her skills, knowledge, and unwavering commitment to excellence, Chef Juels has successfully catered to diverse events, specializing in weddings, private gatherings, and upscale occasions. During the challenges posed by the pandemic, she adapted her services to personalize catering experiences, ensuring her clients' needs were met.
Empowering Youth and Community Engagement: Recognizing the power of knowledge and mentorship, Chef Juels established the Dream Again Self-Investment Program in 2022. This transformative community initiative provides teenagers aged 13 to 18 with real-life education and guidance. Through weekly sessions and guest speakers, the program addresses essential life skills such as self-confidence, mental health, financial literacy, and business etiquette. The program's highlight is The Final Banquet, a culminating event where participants showcase their learnings, enjoy a delightful three-course dinner, and receive inspiration from a keynote speaker.
A Multifaceted Life Beyond the Kitchen: Chef Juels, a devoted mother to Paris and Clark, finds balance and joy in various activities outside the kitchen. Her love for event planning, reading, and practicing yoga in nature enriches her life and fuels her creativity. Her Middle Tennessee-based catering business, Chef Juels Catering, continues to delight clients with exceptional service and delectable cuisine.
Chef Julia Duke's passion, expertise, and commitment to community align seamlessly with the values and mission of Lighthouse Christian School. As she assumes the role of Director of Food Services, we anticipate the positive impact she will have on our students' dining experiences. With Chef Juels at the helm, we eagerly look forward to the culinary adventures that lie ahead. Welcome, Chef Julia Duke, to Lighthouse Christian School!
Until Next Time,