The Culinary Arts program provides hands-on experience for young adults with unique abilities in the Transition and Postgraduate programs at North Florida School of Special Education. It is designed to give both hands-on experiences for independent living and the training necessary for future employment in the culinary field. Through partnerships with various local restaurants and food-related businesses and opportunities through the Berry Good Farms On the Go Food Truck, Berry Good Farms Cafe, and catering, students gain valuable skills in real-life settings.

Culinary Arts students learn to incorporate the seasonal produce from Berry Good Farms into Healthy! Beautiful! Delicious! menu items for lunches and value-added offerings like fresh pesto, hummus and herb mixes and dips. The Farm team and the Culinary Arts team work hand-in-hand to showcase and utilize the fresh produce, herbs and fruits grown on our campus. Culinary Arts students are educated in proper food handling, knife skills, ingredient measurement, the creation of shopping lists, adherence to recipes, food preparation and cooking, and customer service.

An important component of the Culinary Arts Program is the emphasis that our team puts on the importance of healthy and fresh food choices. As our Culinary Arts students hone their skills and pursue compensated employment, they gain a greater sense of independence and are equipped with the tools necessary to make positive lifestyle choices.

The Berry Good Farms Cafe

In January 2020, the Berry Good Farms Cafe opened for business in the 32,000 sq. foot Christy and Lee Smith Lower School Campus selling Java & Special-Teas. Proudly serving locally produced Martin Coffee Co. beans and teas grown and processed on Berry Good Farms, the Cafe is staffed by Transition and Postgraduate students.

The Culinary Academy

North Florida School of Special Education’s Culinary Academy is a 24-week Program Designed to Prepare Passionate Young Adults with Intellectual and Developmental Differences (IDD) for a Career in the Culinary / Hospitality Industry

Part 1 is a 16-Week On-Campus Training

  • Half-day classroom instruction
  • Half-day training in NFSSE’s commercial kitchen
  • Opportunity to experience all forms of food service from our food truck to fine dining and formal catering.
  • Demos from visiting chefs
  • Fieldtrips to observe local restaurant kitchens.

Part 2 is a 4 – 12 Week *Paid Internship
(*upon completion of paperwork with vocational rehabilitation and approval into on the job training with Pass)

  • 10-12 hours weekly. The schedule is completely flexible.
  • Students will apply the skills learned in the Culinary Academy at one of NFSSE’s partnering restaurants.


For more information, contact Ann Atkins, Director of Transition and Postgraduates

904-724-8323 Ext.1245