Celebrity chef Burke to sponsor 2 scholarships at Brookdale CC

Celebrity chef David Burke and the Brookdale Community College Foundation announced Thursday the establishment of the Chef David Burke Scholarship program.

Beginning with the Fall 2021 term, 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 and one for a hospitality management student. Each scholarship will be for $2,500 per term (a total of $10,000 per academic year).

Burke’s generosity will cover the cost of an entire semester of Brookdale Community College classes for each student.

In addition, the students will work for Burke in one of his local restaurants for six months. (While they are working, they also will 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. Burke will make the final selections.

The groups signed a memo of understanding at the Culinary Education Center in Asbury Park.

Deeply passionate about culinary arts and the quality and detail associated with a world-class dining experience, 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,” Burke said. “Work in the best places, learn good skills, because a lot of bad habits are hard to break.”

Brookdale President David Stout obviously was thrilled.

“I want to thank you for persevering to finally make this a reality and supporting the educational endeavors of our students,” he said.

Nora Kerr-McCurry, dean of business and social sciences, applauded the gesture.

“It is a unique opportunity to receive a scholarship, plus a paid internship,” she said.

Burke is an icon in the hospitality industry and currently expanding in the greater Monmouth County area. Students may work in any of his nearby restaurants, including Drifthorse in Sea Bright, Red Horse in Rumson, Orchard Park in East Brunswick and soon, in Union Beach.

The scholarship program will train sous chefs, cooks, maître d’s and managers.