September 9, 2020 (Naples, Fla.) – CHEF, the Culinary & Hospitality Education Foundation of Southwest Florida, announced it will distribute a minimum of $42,000 in grants and scholarships to Collier and Lee County students who are pursuing degrees and careers in the culinary arts and hospitality industry. Additional grants are pending, bringing the total closer to $50,000 being distributed in 2020. Scholarship funds were raised at the Culinary CHEF Showdown event and auction held January 6, 2020, at Grey Oaks Country Club in Naples, where Chef Asif Sayed of 21 Spices by Chef Asif bested Chef Jason Goddard, Corporate Executive Chef of the Aielli Restaurant Group, by only a few points. Both Chefs had thirty minutes to create and present an appetizer dish using mystery basket ingredients to the judging panel comprised of industry experts.
Save the Date for the Culinary CHEF Showdown to be held “virtually” on Monday, March 22, 2021. This exciting virtual event will feature Chef Jason Goddard vs. a challenger, in an appetizer competition using mystery basket ingredients curated by the award-winning culinary team at Sails Restaurant in Naples. The online event will include the friendly competition with a panel of judges, commentary by CHEF scholarship recipients, and an online, live-time auction featuring culinary and hospitality packages called by Scott
Robertson Auctioneers. The program will air from Harmon’s Audio/Visual Studio in Fort Myers, Fla. Prepared, gourmet dinner and wine packages will be available for those who choose to host a few guests in their home before tuning into the virtual CHEF Showdown event and auction that evening. More event details and the Challenger will be announced shortly.
CHEF was established in 2004 as a 501 (c)(3) not-for-profit organization with the mission to raise scholarship funds to benefit Collier and Lee County high school students. CHEF Board President Taryn Cafiero confirmed that to date, more than $300,000 in scholarships and grants have been awarded. Since the 2007-2008 academic year, CHEF has provided 87 scholarship awards to 60 students attending Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers, Fla, with 18 students re-awarded over multiple years. Over the lifetime of
the scholarship program at FGCU, more than $212,000 has been awarded to support Resort & Hospitality Management students. These students have maintained a 3.0 and higher grade point average. Recipients graduated from 26 different high schools in Lee (43) and Collier County (17). The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY, has also received multiple grants from CHEF over the years for Lee and Collier County students enrolled in CIA degree programs.
CHEF is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) tax exempt charitable organization that provides scholarships and other educational opportunities to the next generation of area culinary and hospitality arts professionals.