independents in their cook-off with corporate chain restaurants,
CAFÉ Trust and First Cardinal Corporation are serving $50,000
in culinary scholarships to New York chefs and restaurateurs.
we do is very different from the chain restaurants. We don’t
have the mass appeal of a chain, we do made-to-order and prepare
everything fresh from high-quality products,” said Sharon
Taylor, owner of Friends Lake Inn in Chestertown and sponsor
of scholarship winner Kirk Gibson, her kitchen’s sous-chef.
“Keeping on top of trends is paramount when the industry is
so fickle, and our employees would love to take a few classes
and heighten their experiences as chefs.”
With the proliferation of national restaurant chains, and
their nationally funded marketing and advertising plans zeroing
in on relatively small markets, independent restaurants nationwide
have felt greater competitive pressure, said Evan Christou,
scholarship winner and owner of Tops Diner in Rotterdam and
Gateway Diner on Central Avenue in Albany.
you look at who we compete with, we are up against corporate
America,” said Christou. “Through this scholarship I can better
season myself. It opens me up to resources that I wouldn’t
be able to attain on my own.”
Four two-year scholarships to the Culinary Institute of America
were awarded last year, and five continuing- education scholarships
were awarded this year. The continuing-education scholarships
are open-ended, and curricula can be designed by individuals
to enhance skills specific to their jobs. Christou plans to
enroll in courses to better his skills in both the kitchen
and the back office, as he “needs information and knowledge
in all areas at all times.”
Todd Bishop, of First Cardinal Corporation, said the scholarships
“are a great way to give something back to the industry,”
and looks forward to the five more continuing-education scholarships
to be given out next year.
lot of restaurateurs are enticed by the cruise ships or moving
to Vegas or Miami, high-profile places, and these scholarships
can enhance the talent pool in upstate New York,” said Bishop.
“If these small markets can offer higher culinary education,
this is a great way to keep them in the state.”