Chef Burke at Brookdale

On October 21, 2021, Chef David Burke and Dr. David Stout for Brookdale Community College Foundation, signed a Memorandum of Agreement to establish the Chef David Burke Scholarship at the Culinary Education Center in Asbury Park.  

“I want to thank you for persevering to finally make this a reality and supporting the educational endeavors of our students,” said Dr. David Stout, president of Brookdale Community College.  

Beginning with the Fall 2021 term, Chef Burke has agreed to contribute $5,000 to the Brookdale Foundation to establish a scholarship fund for Culinary & Hospitality Management students. Two scholarships will be awarded, one for a culinary student, one for a Hospitality Management student. Each scholarship will be for $2,500.00 per term (a total of $10,000 per academic year). 

“We are grateful to Chef Burke for his generosity and for the incredible opportunity his scholarships will provide for Brookdale’s Culinary and Hospitality Management students,” said Nancy Kaari, Vice President of Advancement. 

Chef Burke will cover the cost of an entire semester of Brookdale classes for one Hospitality Management student and one Culinary Arts student. In return, the students will work for Chef Burke in one of his local restaurants for six months. In addition, while they are working, they will also be paid. The full-time students must be in the second semester and be in good academic standing with a 3.0 GPA in Career Courses. Brookdale will select the applicants, and Burke will make the final selections. 

“It is a unique opportunity to receive a scholarship, plus a paid internship,” said Nora Kerr-McCurry, institute dean of Business and Social Sciences.  

Deeply passionate about culinary arts and the quality and detail associated with a world-class dining experience, Chef Burke will give additional training while the students are working, with possible opportunities for long-term employment upon graduation from the Brookdale program.  

“When you are young, everything you see is new,” Chef Burke said giving some good advice to the students prepping for lunch service at the Culinary Education Center today. “Work in the best places, learn good skills, because a lot of bad habits are hard to break.” 

Chef Burke is an icon in the hospitality industry and currently expanding in the greater Monmouth County area. Students may work in any of his restaurants, nearby are DRIFTHOUSE in Sea Bright, Red Horse in Rumson, Orchard Park in East Brunswick, and soon Union Beach in March with more local locations on the horizon. This scholarship program will train sous chefs, cooks, maître d’s, and managers.  

Gerard Visci is a student at David Burke’s Red Horse restaurant working in the kitchen during the day and as a waiter at night. “He told me he is so happy and learning so much,” said Chef Burke, who believes deeply in a dedicated and professionally trained staff. As a result, the Chef Burke and Brookdale Scholarship Program will consistently produce talent that is a cut above, setting students on a path for success. 

“It is a great opportunity to work in the back and the front of the house at the same time,” said Chef Burke. “Watching the customer enjoy what you made, and see the results of the work you did in the back in real-time, helps to learn where mistakes can be made. Like why a cocktail fork is important or why a dish needs to be plated a certain way. It cuts out the separation of the front and back of the house and creates a respect for both sides.”  

“I am so excited Chef Burke is helping students pay for their education and giving them a job where they are getting paid and learning new skills,” said Professor of Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management, Michelle Zuppe. “He works around their school schedules and has created a win, win for all of us.” 

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