By Daylyn Huff
Grand Rapids Community College’s Secchia Institute awarded10 culinary arts students scholarships funded by the proceeds of the annual Experience Grand Rapids Restaurant Week event.
Restaurant Week began 10 years ago and takes place once a year in the heart of Grand Rapids. Around 70 restaurants participate in providing either a separate menu with a creative dish, or offer a two- or three-course meal for a low price.
“West Michigan has some of the best restaurants in the world, and many have graduates of the Secchia Institute for Culinary Education on their teams,” stated GRCC President Bill Pink in a press release. “The scholarships provided through Restaurant Week help many students overcome financial obstacles, complete their education and find rewarding careers. It’s a great example of a partnership that makes West Michigan stronger.”
Dan Gendler, an Associate Professor of the Secchia Institute, explained in a news release that he along with around a dozen Grand Rapids local restaurant owners, the director of Secchia Institute and the president of Experience GR, came together to discuss ideas of how to include Grand Rapids Community College in Restaurant Week.
“In that meeting one of the restaurateurs proposed that $1 from every meal purchased during Restaurant Week goes to the culinary program scholarship fund to help the very chefs that are “feeding” the local industry,” Gendler stated.
“Since that time, we have grown the fund to over $175,000, and plan to give away more than $10,000 in scholarships next year,” he stated. “Otherwise we had been giving away $1,000 per year of its existence, i.e. year 1 = $1,000, year 2 = $2,000, this year, year 10, we gave away 10, $1,000 scholarships or $10,000.”
GRCC wants to encourage its students to partake in Restaurant Week to help fellow students earn scholarships by enjoying fresh and local dishes from their favorite restaurants in downtown Grand Rapids.