Photograph by Luis Javy Diaz
Ernest Hudson credits his success as a culinary arts teacher to humble beginnings. The family and consumer science teacher at Appoquinimink High School recently earned the 2015 ProStart Delaware Educator of Excellence Award from the Delaware Restaurant Association. ProStart is a national program that combines food service and education to help high school students succeed in the hospitality industry.
Hudson, who lives in Dover, grew up in Seaford, where his family was displaced from their home and went to live with other families. “It instilled in me to be humble and to value the opportunity to eat around a table with siblings and family,” he says.
A graduate of Woodbridge High School and Delaware State University, Hudson has taught for nine years, including two at Appo. “Ernest takes teaching the ProStart curriculum one step farther by really making those connections in the community and helping place his students in restaurants where they can apply their skills, learn from those in the field and earn job opportunities,” says Carrie Leishman, head of the DRA.
Thanks to his passion for teaching and cooking Hudson developed a unique tutoring program called Spatulearn, where he teaches students about cooking while incorporating lessons in English or math. At press time in mid-May, Hudson was preparing to travel to the Educator of Excellence Awards in Chicago to learn whether he won a $5,000 James Maynard scholarship.
When asked if he seeks rock star chef status, Hudson chuckles. “I look at myself as more of an educator than a chef,” he says. “I see the value of education through the eyes of a chef.”