Gary Appelsies, the YMCA’s Director of Healthy Eating, has been inducted into the Orlando Sentinel’s 2017 Culinary Hall of Fame.
Immediately following the Pulse Orlando tragedy, Appelsies created Facebook group, “Culinary Cares,” which rallied the support of more than 100 local chefs, caterers and restaurateurs who provided meals – and comfort – to those who needed it the most.
In all, 5,000-plus meals, snacks and beverages were delivered to the GLBT Community Center of Central Florida, the Zebra Coalition, Orlando Health, One Blood and other places where victims, their families and first responders gathered.
“In the aftermath of this terrible tragedy, our community responded in huge and meaningful ways,” said Appelsies, a Board Certified Holistic Integrative Nutritionist and Natural Foods Chef.
Known for his great passion for fresh, delicious food, Appelsies is leading the Y’s efforts to empower people to develop healthier habits around lifestyle and nutrition. In addition to helping establish the Y’s Healthy Teaching Kitchen and Axum Market Café at the Dr. P. Phillips YMCA, he also supports the Y’s diabetes prevention program and other medically based pilots to curb chronic disease.
As Appelsies’ reputation grows, he is also inspiring many other celebrated chefs to join the Y cause. Kathleen Blake of The Rusty Spoon, Kevin Fonzo of K Restaurant and Wine Bar, Ryan Freelove of Market to Table, Collette Haw of Collette’s Clean Eats, Jamie McFadden of Cuisiners Catering and Nora Galdiano from Sysco are among those who are supporting the Y’s Healthy Teaching Kitchen and other initiatives.