It was a super successful Restaurant Week in Grand Rapids this past August. So successful that with each of the 70+ participating restaurants donating $1 for each meal sold, a check for $16,200 was presented to the GRCC Foundation this year growing the donation to $143,106 for the Secchia Institute for Culinary Education (SICE) Student Scholarship Fund at GRCC.

Each scholarship winner received $1,000 to help support their continuing studies in GRCC’s SICE program. This is the seventh year that students have been awarded scholarship money from the fund established by Restaurant Week GR.

And the winners of the scholarships were:

• Amanda Barnett: Amanda was an English teacher before pursuing a culinary career. Six years ago, she started an after-school cooking program for her students because many of them didn’t have anything to eat in the evening.

• Rachel Baas: Rachel works in the bakeshop of at the JW Marriott.

• Edward Johnson Jr.: Edward has wanted a culinary career since 2nd grade, when he began renting out cookbooks and begging his mom to help him make recipes. He currently works at CityFlatsHotel.

• Ashlie Herrmann: Ashlie is working at Grove while she continues her schooling at the Secchia Institute.

• Jarrod Benjamin: Jarrod has wanted to work in the culinary field since he was five years old and his ultimate goal is to become a personal chef. He currently works at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse while attending the Secchia institute.

• Kristina Kercher: Kristina works at The Kitchen by Wolfgang Puck and also at Flo’s Sports Bar in Belmont while she continues her education.

• Jesse Aronoff: Jesse didn’t have any ambition for a culinary career until he got his first job in the field at age 16. He currently works at Licari’s Sicilian Pizza Kitchen.


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