Jefferson Award: Chef Geoff, feeding thousands of Florence storm victims, first responders
Horry County, SC (WPDE) —
It was one of our biggest Jefferson Award surprises yet, as dozens of cullinary students cheered on Chef Geoff Blount.
You may recognize Chef Geoff from 'Whip up your Weekend,' Sundays, on Good Morning Carolinas.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Florence, Chef Geoff wanted to help.
"He had constant phone calls people saying, 'What can you do for us?' and he said, 'Anything you need,'" said Chef Randi Rimedio.
As a professor of Culinary Arts at the International Culinary Institute at Horry-Georgetown Tech, Blount knew he had the resources.
"I think sometimes they think, 'It's just a community college.' But that's just it. You're a community college. So you take care of your community. You give people a helping hand when you can," said Chef Geoff Blount.
Blount organized a massive 18-day food operation.
Fellow instructors, students, and volunteers got to work preparing meals.
"We were feeding, sometimes, up to 2,000 people a day," said Rimedio, who volunteered.
"We served things like shrimp and grits and buttered beans with smoked pork. This wasn't your typical relief food," said Blount.
As word spread, other chefs from across the country donated food.
"We actually had a private plane fly down to New Orleans, bring it up," said Blount.
In all, Chef Geoff and his team served more than 15,000 meals.
"We served just over 12 different communities. Horry County is huge. We saw our food do everything from get on a boat, to go on the back of a humvee," said Blount.
Besides helping storm victims and first responders, for Chef Geoff, the biggest reward was seeing his students use their skills for good.
"The God-given talent is that fact that they actually are willing to help and use that skill set to help another human and nourish someone's body and soul. And that's huge," said Blount.
To nominate someone in your community for the Jefferson Award, click here.