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May 03, 2017

Joe Romanowski Culinary Education Foundation Awards $32,500 in Scholarships

Joe Romanowski Culinary Education Foundation board members and scholarship winners (L-R). Back row-Chris Mumford, Troy Woodginski, Maggie Lubcke, Courtney Dean, Alexandra Dennis, HayLee Carscadden, Meghan Trivett, Barbara Roselli, Karen Farrell. Front row- Debbie Mumford, Lindsay Lewallen, Beth Estelle and ,Kendall Szpakowski.

The Joe Romanowski Culinary Education Foundation (JOCEF) awarded $32,500 in scholarship funds to eight local students in a ceremony held on Monday, May 1 at the Culinary Education Center in Asbury Park. Since founding as a nonprofit in 2014, JOCEF has awarded over $100,000 in scholarships to students enrolled at the school. The Culinary Education Center is a collaboration between Brookdale Community College and the Monmouth County Vocational School District.

Proceeds from the 4th annual JOCEF “Recipe for Success” gala on March 27, 2017 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.

Chef Barbara Roselli at the Culinary Education Center encourages students to apply for the JOCEF scholarship. As students passed a portrait of Joe Romanowski in the school’s main hall,  she said of him, “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.”

In an emotional awards ceremony students were presented checks by JOCEF board members including Maggie Lubcke, Chris and Debbie Mumford, Karen Farrell, Barbara Roselli and Rachel Weston.

Karen Farrell, JOCEF board treasurer said, “We are changing people’s lives with these scholarships. It is very rewarding to see students grow as they move through the program. We are so pleased to support culinary students in the memory of Joe,”

Meghan Trivett was taken by surprise when she was awarded $15,000. “This scholarship means that I can finish school,” she said. “I talked with my Dad the other day and he said he didn’t know if we could do another year. That was heartbreaking to me. I love it here. It means the world to me that I can now continue here. This is such an honor. I appreciate everyone who considered me for it and who made a donation.”

Kendall Szpakowski was awarded a scholarship last year as a student coming in from the high school culinary program. After excelling during her first year at Brookdale, JOCEF awarded her $5,000 to continue her studies.  Three of the scholarship winners attended high school culinary programs this year at the Monmouth County Vocational School and Five Star Culinary Academy in Freehold.

Baking and pastry student, Beth Estelle was awarded a $500 scholarship in memoriam of Cheryl Cummings, a 2014 JOCEF scholarship winner who was a passionate baker.

 2017-18 JOCEF Scholarship Winners
Meghan Trivett, Highlands, $15,000
Courtney Dean, Howell, $5,000
Kendall Szpakowski Leonardo, $5,000
Alexandra Dennis, Matawan, $2,500
Troy Woodginski, Belford, $2500
HayLee Carscadden, Keansburg, $1000
Lindsay Lewallen, Keansburg, $1,000
Beth Estelle, Colts Neck, $500

Visit the Joe Romanowski Culinary Education Foundation’s website Follow JOCEF on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @JOCEFNJ for updates.