Food Stamp Challenge: Hari & Jenneffer Pulapaka

Chef Hari Pulapaka from Cress RestaurantChef Hari Pulapaka from Cress Restaurant
Executive Chef & Co-Owner

Challenge Day: From Sept. 11-18, 2012
Chef Hari’s wife Jenneffer joined him in taking the challenge. They both took the challenge for a whole week.

Short Bio: In addition to being an active, tenured Associate Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science at Stetson University, I am also the Executive Chef and Co-Owner (with Jenneffer) of Cress Restaurant in downtown DeLand, FL. I am also a certified executive chef as recognized by the American Culinary Federation. Cress is a vibrant successful restaurant that opened in August 2008. In addition to being the Executive Chef at Cress, I am also its Chef de Cuisine, Kitchen Manager, web site developer and administrator, social network administrator, and run the line every night. Meanwhile, I also fulfill all the responsibilities of my academic position at Stetson University and teach full-time. Needless to say, I take advantage of every waking moment of every day following my personal, academic and culinary passions to the best of my abilities.

  • Why did you join the SNAP Challenge? We wanted to challenge ourselves to “walk the walk”. We are passionate about helping individuals or organizations who are aligned with our core values of decency, compassion, and humanity.
  • What was your experience with food shopping? Was $6.67 enough for an entire day?The food budget was not a problem. It helps that we are good cooks. So, we didn’t take the easy way out with fast or processed foods. Instead, we bought raw ngredients and prepare din diverse ways to suit of tastes. It should be noted that we added gasoline to our budget. So, gave ourselves only $2 per day to be used for gasoline.
  • Did you eat well on the SNAP Challenge? How did you feel? We actually ate better (healthier) during this challenge that normally do. We felt great, lost weight (in a good way), but missed being able to socialize with a glass of wine.
  • What kind of meals did you eat/prepare? A variety of meals.  Please see our daily blog for examples:
  • What was the most difficult thing you faced during the SNAP Challenge? Not being able to drink alcohol even socially.
  • Do you have any additional thoughts or comments about living for a day on a SNAP budget? I want to ensure that I was very fortunate to have my wife Dr. Jenneffer Pulapaka join me in the challenge. She is an inspiration.


Click here to read more about Second Harvest’s Food Stamp Challenge >>


Author: Maria Shanley

Senior Digital Marketing Manager Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida

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