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Restaurant Week generates $18K for GRCC culinary scholarships
A check for $18,014 was presented to representatives of the Grand Rapids Community College culinary school Tuesday for addition to its Culinary Education Scholarship Fund, money contributed by 61 Grand Rapids-area restaurants that participated in this year’s Restaurant Week in mid August.
Since the annual Restaurant Week promotion began three years ago, it has raised almost $57,000 for the fund, according to Doug Small, president of Experience Grand Rapids.
The celebration held last night by Experience Grand Rapids and the Grand Rapids Downtown Development Authority at the Secchia Institute for Culinary Education on the GRCC campus also featured presentations of $500 scholarships to four student chefs enrolled in the culinary school.
The first two Restaurant Weeks were held in November, but this year it was decided to host it from Aug. 15-25, to coincide with West Michigan-grown food at its freshest. Restaurant Week next year will be held during the same approximate time; Aug. 14-24.
A new culinary event also was announced by Janet Korn, vice president of marketing for Experience Grand Rapids. Cool Beer-Hot Eats will take place from Feb. 18 to March 2 this winter, which brings together local restaurants and the growing number of craft breweries in the area. Cool Beer-Hot Eats is calculated to bring still more leisure visitors to downtown Grand Rapids at a time of year not normally known for tourist traffic.
Small noted that restaurants always play a key role in every area’s local hospitality industry, and hospitality is an important part of the business economy of downtown Grand Rapids. Whenever people return from a vacation, he said, they always tell family and friends about the best restaurant meals they had.
More than half of all the restaurants in Grand Rapids participated in Restaurant Week, stated Brian Harris, board chair of the Grand Rapids DDA. The 61 participants included 31 in downtown Grand Rapids and 30 others from throughout Kent County.
Each participating restaurant donated $1 for each special Restaurant Week meal it served during the promotion this summer, to support the GRCC culinary scholarship fund.