Friday, August 1, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Celebrity Chefs

Celebrity chefs reveal surprises at Frankford High

Celebrity Chefs

Volunteer School District workers waited in the classroom-turned greenroom as TV food host Rachael Ray visited Frankford High School.

Ray was there to unveil the state-of-the-art kitchen she presented to the school's culinary arts program. Her foundation donated the all the brand-new appliances, pots, pans, and knives while school staff provided the labor, working on the crew of celebrity designer Carter Oosterhouse (Oprah fave and one of People magazine's "Sexiest men on TV," in blue, below) completing the extreme makeover of the school's antiquated kitchen while the students were on spring break. The whole thing was videotaped for her show.

Ray was very down to earth, cool and casual about everything. Not so culinary arts teacher Wilma Stephenson (in the purple blouse), who was bouncing up and down all over the brand-new easy-on-the-feet flooring. Her in-your-face attitude, dedication, tough love, and success with her culinary students was immortalized in the 2008 documentary Pressure Cooker. In a school with a 40 percent dropout rate, all of her students graduate, and many receive college scholarships. She also coaches the school's award-winning cheerleading team.

Ray also brought in Iron Chef Bobby Flay to break in the new stove, and she handed out $50,000 in college scholarships - $5,000 each to 10 of Stephenson's graduating seniors. Flay was in town to open his new Bobby's Burger Palace in University City. Inquirer writer Dianna Marder's story is here. The show airs May 3, locally on 6ABC.

Tom Gralish Inquirer Staff Photographer
About this blog

Tom Gralish is a general assignment photographer at The Inquirer, concentrating on local news and self-generated feature photos.

He has been at the paper since 1983, photographing everything from revolution in the Philippines to George W. Bush’s road to the White House to homeless people living on the street right outside his newspaper's front door. For his photo essay on Philadelphia’s homeless, he was awarded both the Pulitzer Prize and the Robert F. Kennedy Award.

His weekly newspaper column, "Scene Through the Lens," takes a look at Philadelphia's urban landscape.

Gralish, along with Inquirer colleague and Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Michael Vitez, spent a year visiting the Philadelphia Museum of Art to capture the stories and photos of "Rocky runners" who come from all over the world to climb the steps - just as Sylvester Stallone did in the Academy Award winning film, Rocky. Their book, Rocky Stories: Tales of Love, Hope and Happiness at America’s Most Famous Steps, was published in November 2006.

Reach Tom at tgralish@phillynews.com.

Tom Gralish Inquirer Staff Photographer
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