Erik Youngs has over 30 years experience in the Foodservice Industry, and has been a Culinary Educator for the past 20 years. He was the driving force behind the Nationally recognized, award winning Culinary Operations Academy at Chamberlain High School. Under his direction the Academy became the only Model High School Culinary Academy in the Nation. Erik was recently named the Lead Instructor at Erwin Technical College. Erik has been recognized at various levels for his contributions to education including being recognized as teacher of the year from the following organizations:
In addition, the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation also awarded Erik with the prestigious James T. Maynard Excellence in Education Award presented to the top culinary educators in the nation. Erik was also name one of Hillsborough Community Colleges 2013 Outstanding Alumnus of the Year. Recognizing Chef Youngs’ many contributions to the culinary education arena, Johnson & Wales University has honored him with an Honorary Alumnus degree. Erik was also named one of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Quarterbacks’ in the Community.
Erik also operates a consulting business working with restaurants in areas including recipe creation and standardization, staff training and development, and menu development. As a National Food Safety Management (ServSafe) instructor and proctor, Erik also works with companies in training and certifying staff as well as the development of Food Safety plans and systems.
Erik is also the owner of Let's Do Gourmet, a gourmet seasoning and sauce company. The seasonings are all restaurant tested and available wholesale, retail, and as a fundraising opportunity. A portion of all sales is donated to the State Restaurant Association in support of culinary education through student scholarship. On June (Friday the) 13th, 2014, Erik launched his VooDoo Chef Brand of Products which feature classic flavors with some new twists. VooDoo Chef Sauces and Seasonings were quickly named the Official Sauce & Seasoning of Tampa’s Gasparilla Pirate Fest!
Working extensively with the community, Erik has served as a board member for the Hillsborough County Chapter of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association and Florida’s Restaurant and Lodging Association Education Foundation. In addition, he has worked with Feed America Tampa Bay, Hillsborough Community College, Family Career and Community Leaders of America, The Boy Scouts of America, American Heritage Girls, Steve Otto’s Chili Cook Off, and Burger Showdown in support of their missions.
Most recently, Erik founded the VooDoo Krewe and VooDoo Chef Foundation, both of which are geared towards providing Culinary scholarship to high school seniors and providing food to the less fortunate. Erik currently resides in Tampa with his wife and daughter.