Food Network star visits Wilmington to shine support on GLOW Academy

Celebrity Chef Tyler Florence asks local food truck chefs about the dishes they prepared for the day (photo: WWAY)

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Locals know food trucks in Wilmington are to die for and on Friday they battled it out to see who has the most flavor.

Celebrity Chef Tyler Florence brought his show ‘The Great Food Truck Race’ to the Cape Fear as he hosted Girls Leadership Academy of Wilmington’s annual celebrity chef event in Landfall.

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The surprise ingredients for the food truck chefs were fresh local oysters and pork tenderloin.

“They all hopped out in their trucks, had 45 minutes to produce their absolute best dish,” Florence said. “The culinary students from GLOW got to be the judges.”

The students chose their favorite and Catch the Food Truck reeled in bragging rights as the tastiest truck.

Chef Florence praised the academy and its students.

“A tremendous amount of spark in their eyes and what they want to do because they’re in such a nurturing environment where it’s okay to dream,” he said.

GLOW or Girls Leadership Academy of Wilmington is a public charter school that opened its doors in 2016. The academy educates middle and high school women in preparation to succeed in college and beyond.

The girls of GLOW Academy say they’re motivated by the community and their founder’s confidence in them.

“It’s really great to have so many people want to help us and support us in our education,” 6th grader Mary Claire said.

“It feels really good to know people are supporting us and getting us to where we need to be because this is an amazing school and it will take us far,” 8th grader Aalisia said. “And seeing Judy here is amazing and so is seeing the chefs.”

Also on Friday’s menu, high praise from the students for former Food Network President and GLOW Founder Judy Girard.

“It’s really cool that we have a celebrity who made our school and that she can get other people to help support us in our journey,” 6th grader Simone said.

“It’s really amazing,” 7th grader Jamasz said. “We came here and they’re supporting us and seeing what Judy Girard did for us. It’s really cool.”

Chef Florence’s visit wasn’t all about the fabulous food. He made sure to share some words of wisdom with the students before he left.

He says nothing in this world is free. So, work hard, put your heart into everything you do, and never take no for an answer.

“It’s all going to be great. Your dreams are going to come true if you focus and you work hard on that. On being YOU,” Florence said. “The best you you can be. Then there’s nothing that could ever stop you in the world.”