Meet the Team

Chef Gene Gelb, Publix Aprons Cooking School and Catering

Chef Gene Gelb, a Polk County native, is no stranger to southern cooking. Growing up with 7 brothers and sisters, and now his wife and 5 children, he always had the opportunity to cook for a crowd!

Following in his family’s footsteps, Chef Gene joined Publix at 16 years of age as a customer service associate. He then graduated High School and left Publix to attend University. He attended USF for Mechanical Engineering but found his desire to be in kitchens to be stronger than his love of engineering. Chef Gelb then spent 17 years learning the ins and outs of kitchens in the Greater Tampa Bay area. From Sous Chef to Chef de Cuisine to Executive Chef, Chef Gene immersed himself in the cooking charms and flavors of each kitchen he was in, cultivating his palate and adding to his culinary portfolio.

Chef Gene has returned to where it all began. He is currently utilizing his culinary background and full service catering expertise as the Assistant Resident and Catering Chef at Publix Aprons Cooking School. He is pleased to be able to showcase exquisite flavor profiles and combine his passion for food along with family tradition.

Emily Topper, Publix Super Markets, Inc.

Emily Topper is a proud Florida native who loves calling Lakeland home. Before joining the Public Affairs team at Publix Super Markets, Inc. in 2018, she was the managing editor of the Plant City Observer. Emily has been published in more than a dozen print and digital media outlets. When she’s not working, you can find her writing, drinking copious amounts of coffee and exploring all Tampa Bay has to offer with her dog, Stella. 

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