Chef David Burke

New Jersey’s Brookdale Community College  and chef/restaurateur David Burke announced the establishment of the Chef David Burke Scholarship at the institution’s Culinary Education Center in Asbury Park. Beginning with the current fall 2021 term, the new scholarship, funded by an annual $10,000 donation from Burke, will pay the tuition for two students every school year – one culinary arts and one hospitality management major. The scholarship recipients will also be awarded invaluable hands-on experience with paid six-month internships at one of Burke’s six NJ restaurants, during which they will work in both front-and-back-of- house capacities. Upon graduation, they will have the option to explore long-term employment with Burke and his team at his 15 restaurants in NJ, NY, CO and Saudi Arabia.

aThe new partnership with Brookdale Community College was initiated by Burke as a means of addressing the labor shortage that is plaguing the hospitality industry nationwide. It will assure a steady flow of young, enthusiastic and energetic talent into his organization, particularly for his three restaurants in the college’s Monmouth Co. NJ environs – DRIFTHOUSE, Orchard Park by David Burke (in neighboring Middlesex Co.) and Red Horse by David Burke, all of which opened during the pandemic.  A third Monmouth Co. restaurant is in the works.

To qualify for the Chef David Burke Scholarships, full-time Brookdale Community College culinary and hospitality management students must be in their second semester and be in good academic standing with at least a 3.0 GPA. Brookdale leadership will select the applicants and Burke will make the final selections.

“I am so excited chef Burke is helping students pay for their education and giving them an opportunity to earn money while learning new skills,” says Michelle Zuppe, Brookdale professor of culinary arts and hospitality management. “He works around their school schedules and has created a win-win for all of us.”

A big believer in the value of education combined with professional training, Burke noted, “The scholarship’s internship program provides a great opportunity for students to work in the back-and-front-of- house at the same time. Watching the customer enjoy what you made, seeing the results of the work you did in the back in real-time, helps with the learning process. Things like why a cocktail fork is important or why a dish needs to be plated a certain way become apparent. It cuts out the separation of the dining room from the kitchen, creating a respect for both sides.” 

The Brookdale partnership expands upon one Burke established last year with the Charlotte, NC campus of Johnson & Wales to create paid internships at his two Charlotte restaurants for recent graduates.

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