Haley Alfonso, Breahna Nelis, Rayna Metcalf, Kiera Nelis and Ava Covelli help package meals to give to Feeding Tampa Bay.

By Lily Belcher

Culinary Specialties Tampa, a chef inspired gourmet food service, provided 14,000 meals each week in June to Feeding Tampa Bay, a food bank dedicated to serving individuals who struggle with food insecurity. Culinary Specialties supplied a variety of meals, including grilled chicken or steak with soups and other side dishes, that gave customers a flavorful and healthy meal.

“We are a wholesale specialty food service company that sells directly to local chefs,” said sales manager at Culinary Specialties Tampa April Music. “We make frozen and fresh hors d’oeuvres for large parties and weddings. And we also take recipes from local chefs and recreate their items; to help offset their lack of labor. So, it’s still their same product just made from our USDA facility and delivered ready to eat at their location.”

The partnership with Feeding Tampa Bay has benefitted both Culinary Specialties, which had experienced a decrease in order volume when COVID-19 hit, and Feeding Tampa Bay, which had experienced an increase in food demand as many families fell victim to COVID-related unemployment.

“We have really enjoyed picking up Feeding Tampa Bay and helping the community during this time,” said Music. “God has been good to us. We are hopeful that we will always be able to help as the need arises.”

In order to keep up with the increased volume of meals being made to support Feeding Tampa Bay, Culinary Specialties has brought on seven volunteers in addition to its four full-time employees and five part-time employees.

“It’s hard work but it’s well worth it for the cause,” said part-time employee Rachel Hesse.

Each week, Feeding Tampa Bay passes out the meals provided by Culinary Specialties. In response to the support they have provided. Culinary Specialties has received an outpouring of cards and gratitude from Feeding Tampa Bay customers, Music said. The meals and donated time have allowed Feeding Tampa Bay to provide for families and individuals in need of food during trying financial times.

For more information on Culinary Specialties, visit its Facebook page or contact Music by email at aprilm@culinaryspec.com or call 453-3137.

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