The Joe Romanowski Culinary Education Foundation (JOCEF) awarded $30,000 in scholarship funds to seven students currently enrolled at the Culinary Education Center, a collaboration between Brookdale Community College and the Monmouth County Vocational School District. In three years, JOCEF has awarded $75,000 in scholarships. In the 2014, three students earned scholarships. In 2015, four students were selected. For the 2016-17 term, JOCEF awarded seven students a total of $30,000.
“We are so pleased to be able to support more culinary students in the memory of Chef Joe Romanowski,” said Karen Farrell, JOCEF board treasurer. “With the community’s generous help, we are able to award scholarships to more students this year than before.”
Proceeds from JOCEF’s 3rd annual “Recipe for Success” gala in March 2016 funded the scholarships. The Joe Romanowski Culinary Education Foundation was established in the memory of Joseph Romanowski, who mentored and nurtured many of the Jersey Shore’s finest up-and coming chefs. Romanowski was the chef and owner of the highly acclaimed restaurants, Joe and Maggie’s Bistro in Long Branch and Bay Ave Trattoria in Highlands. JOCEF is a 501c3 not-for-profit foundation.
In an emotional awards ceremony at the Culinary Education Center, students were presented checks by JOCEF board members including Maggie Romanowski, Chris and Debbie Mumford and Karen Farrell.
Winner Erin Cotterell of Lincroft said, “This scholarship means a lot. About a month ago, my Dad lost his job. This will help me focus on my schooling next year instead of wondering if I’ll have enough money to come back.”
“My whole high school career I worked my butt off to be able to afford to go to college,” said Emily Yasi of Freehold. “I’ve been using my own money and scholarships to pay for school. It means a lot that I can come back for the pastry program and study what I love.”
Chef Barbara Roselli at the Culinary Education Center encourages students to apply for the JOCEF scholarship. She said of Romanowski, “He loved to teach. He would do anything for the school. So many chefs in this area who worked under him went on to start their own places. We have such a local legacy coming from Joe.”
2016-17 JOCEF Scholarship Winners
Ehrich Ballard, 19, Middletown. $8,000
Erin Cotterell, 19, Lincroft $8,000
Kendall Szpakowski, 17, Middletown $5,000
Deandre Forman, 26, Freehold $3,000
Tyler Berman, 24, Manalapan $2,000
Chris Ross, 35, Red Bank $2,000
Emily Yasi,18, Freehold $2,000
Visit the Joe Romanowski Culinary Education Foundation’s website www.culinaryjoe.org. Follow JOCEF on Facebook . Find us on Twitter and Instagram a@JOCEFNJ for updates.