iTech Glades welcomes Salena Chairez to the team

Posted 11/27/23

iTECH Glades officially welcomes Salena Chairez to their team!

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iTech Glades welcomes Salena Chairez to the team

Chef Shauna Kay Elliott (left) and Salena Chairez-Hoots (right)
Chef Shauna Kay Elliott (left) and Salena Chairez-Hoots (right)
Courtesy photo

MOORE HAVEN — iTECH Glades officially welcomes Salena Chairez to their team! Salena registered in the culinary program last fall, though she is not new to the kitchen. She comes with experience working for Metz culinary management group who contracts with Hendry Regional.

Salena wanted to expand her knowledge and skills in the hope of one day becoming a personal chef. Through the help of CareerSource and FutureMakers, Salena was able to have the financial support needed for enrollment. As a student enrolled in the program, Salena has entered many local competitions including the local sweet competition during Sugarfest, entering homemade chocolate cupcakes and banana bread. Although neither competition ended with a win, she was able to take away new tips and tricks that she learned.

As a contestant and recipient of the Southeast Produce Council (SEPC), Salena received an all-expense paid trip for herself and one guest to attend the SEPC’s Southern Innovations Conference and Expo where she was awarded the SPEC Chefs’ Jacket, in addition to a $1,500.00 scholarship to help cover her tuition expenses.

During her final semester at iTECH, Salena demonstrated her knowledge and ability as she worked the summer in the kitchen at iTECH Immokalee under Chef Shauna Kay and also at the Seminole Tribe in Brighton under the direction of Chef Larry. Recently, Salena participated in the Lee vs Collier Taco Cook-Off hosted by the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association in Bonita Springs and is eager to participate in the event again next year.

On Nov. 4, Salena was awarded $200 and second place for the beef competition during the Hendry Cattlewomans’ Beef Cookoff and was voted People’s Choice.

Salena has successfully completed required hours and training for the Professional Culinary Arts & Hospitality program and has been hired as Chef Shauna Kay’s Production Workshop Assistant. She will be a great asset to the culinary program and The Heartland Café!

Salena Chairez, iTech Glades