LaVida Hospitality helps send budding chefs to school

March 3, 2017

Fork + Flask's Winter Cocktail Party was the place to be Jan. 29 for tasty snacks, high-powered bartending and generous guests gathering for a good cause. And last week, owner Josh Grapski donated a portion of the proceeds to the of Italy Culinary Scholarship Fund.

Eight local mixologists brought their talents to bear on that Sunday afternoon, using local spirits from Dogfish Head Distilling. They pulled out all the stops with ingredients like banana eggnog, peppercorns, sage honey, green tea, thyme-infused blueberry syrup, cloves, egg whites, rice vinegar, rosemary, habanero peppers ... just to name a few.

It was gratifying to see Cape Region food industry professionals team up to help Delaware high schoolers seek careers in the food industry. The of Italy Culinary Scholarship Fund provides tuition assistance to qualifying Delaware high school graduates who successfully complete the Delaware Restaurant Association's ProStart curriculum. Those students are eligible for funds to help them continue their education at full-time professional culinary schools. The fund has already sent deserving Delaware high school graduates to New York's Culinary Institute of America and The Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College in Philadelphia, the alma mater of such Cape Region luminaries as Kevin Reading and Hari Cameron.

The of Italy Scholarship Foundation organizers thank Josh Grapski of Fork + Flask @ Nage, Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head Distilling, and top-notch barkeeps John Rainier from Eden, Lars Ryan at Dogfish Head Brewery, Ginger Breneman behind the bar at Fork + Flask, Mac Payne from The Starboard, Pat Backus at Dogfish Head Brewings & Eats, Kasey O'Brien from Lefty's Alley & Eats, Crooked Hammock's Tommy Little and Rob Bagley behind the bar at Chesapeake & Maine. Delaware teens who dream of professional careers in the kitchen crafts or hospitality management are now that much closer to their dream.

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