Culinary scholarship fund expected to top $100,000



Leah Nixon

Director of Communications

(616) 234-4213

Aug. 10, 2015 GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — A scholarship fund supported by Experience Grand Rapids' Restaurant Week is expected to break $100,000 after this month's event.

The sixth annual Restaurant Week, with more than 60 restaurants participating, runs Aug. 12 to 23. During those 12 days, $1 from every Restaurant Week meal is donated to a scholarship fund for students in Grand Rapids Community College's Secchia Institute for Culinary Education. More than $95,000 has been donated so far.

“The support that Experience Grand Rapids and all the participating restaurant owners and chefs have shown for GRCC and the Secchia Institute for Culinary Education is overwhelming," said Secchia Institute for Culinary Education program director Dan Gendler. "Our students are grateful for not only the financial help from these scholarships, but for the faith and confidence that they represent and the support that they receive through jobs throughout the area.”

City High School graduates Megan Amante and Kara Faasen were among the 2014 Restaurant Week scholarships recipients.

A Restaurant Week scholarship means that Faasen, who works at The BOB, can take some needed lab classes without financial worries.

"I have always been gifted in the culinary area, but I didn't know I wanted to be in the culinary field until the end of my senior year of high school," said Faasen, who wants to eventually own a restaurant or bakery.

In addition to the practical assistance that a Restaurant Week scholarship provides, Amante said it was especially meaningful to be recognized by Experience Grand Rapids and the Secchia Institute for Culinary Education.

Amante, who hopes to be a personal chef, said she has been hooked on the culinary arts ever since working at a diner as a hostess at age 14.

"My favorite game to play at home is what I call 'How Low Can You Go' -- or: What can I make with all this random stuff in the fridge and cupboards without going grocery shopping?" she said. "My go-to is various versions of Asian stir fry. I'm a big fan of vegetarian food, and nothing is better than spicy food with vegetables that are done properly. It's good warm or cold as leftovers, and my roommates love when I make this for them!"

Amante, who worked at the Mitten Brewing Company, has an internship at Pond Hill Farm near Harbor Springs.

To learn more about Restaurant Week, click here. The Secchia Institute for Culinary Education offers associate degrees in the culinary arts with culinary, culinary management, baking and pastry arts, and personal chef tracks, as well as personal chef, and baking and pastry arts certifications. To learn more about Secchia Institute for Culinary Education, click here.

Grand Rapids Community College has been offering educational opportunities in West Michigan for 100 years. Established in 1914, the college offers degree courses, certification and training programs, and workshops and personal enrichment classes. Offerings are held on GRCC’s downtown Grand Rapids campus, and at several locations throughout Kent and Ottawa counties, as well as through distance learning.