Daphne High School sponsored by Ed’s Seafood

Daphne High School

Instructors:

Les Thorpe

Les Thorpe
Daphne High School

Chef Thorpe is a dedicated culinary professional with 30 years of experience in the industry. He received his culinary training at Jefferson State Community College. As a student at Athens State University, he completed coursework in the Technical Education Department of the College of Education. A combination of education, hard work, and creativity provided him with outstanding opportunities at renowned restaurants throughout Alabama, Florida and Texas. Chef Thorpe merged his passion for cooking and teaching 17 years ago when he started the first high school culinary arts program in Mobile County. Later, he was thrilled to bring another stellar program to Daphne High School. Chef Thorpe has received numerous awards and accolades from fellow culinarians but his most rewarding experience is inspiring young chefs. Chef Thorpe has also taught culinary classes at Gulf Coast Community College and through the University of South Alabama. Chef Thorpe is an innovative culinarian who enjoys sharing his skills with students, always impressing upon his pupils that strong technique, creativity, hard work, and an excellent knife set will take them far. When not cooking or teaching, he enjoys staying active with his family, playing or coaching soccer, or bicycling at the Gulf State Park.

McCullum

Kala McCollum
Daphne High School

Kala McCollum has been an educator since 2002 in the field of Family and Consumer Science. She earned her degrees from Alabama Agricultural & Mechanical University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Development and Family Studies with a focus on child development and also a Masters in Family and Consumer Science education.  In 2015 she earned an Educational Specialist degree in Teacher Leader from the University of West Alabama.

She is currently the Hospitality and Tourism teacher at Daphne high school in Daphne, AL. She teaches the foundations course which prepares students for management, marketing and operations of restaurants and other food services, lodging, attractions, recreation events and travel related services using real work, hands-on knowledge and skills in a professional lab setting. In her career she has taken students to several culinary competitions in Mobile, AL and has participated in the 2nd annual USA Hospitality and Tourism Workforce Summit with students in 2018. Kala is a native of Mobile, AL and has a passion for teaching students and loves to give her students the best opportunity to exceed and become students who excel in every endeavor.


Sponsored by:

Ed's Seafood

Ed's Seafood Shed

Mentoring Chef:

Nick DiMario

Nick DiMario
Operating Partner
Panini Pete’s, Sunset Pointe, Ed’s Shed, Squid Ink

Nick DiMario was born in Overbrook, PA in 1967. He started working in the restaurant business at the ripe age of 13. In the late 80s, he moved to attend the University of Alabama where he studied hotel and restaurant management and was a walk-on for their college football team. Not long after this, he began working as a general manager for Alabama Legend, Bob Baumhower.  In the 20+ years he spent working for Bob with Aloha Hospitality, he climbed through the ranks from general manager to Director of Operations. In September of 2013 he partnered with Chef/Owner Pete Blohme a.k.a. Panini Pete along with Panini Petes and Sunset Pointe Brands. Since partnering with Pete, they have opened Ed’s Shed and most recently, Squid Ink.  He specializes in operational scaling of restaurants and development of systems and operations. He has been affiliated with multiple restaurant concepts ranging from sports, Caribbean, seafood, and fast casual, and continues to invest and grow multiple different concepts.  His goal is to be an innovator and leader in the industry and to develop young leaders in the process.