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Culinary Scholarship Fundraiser Dinner Raises Over $45,000

The lights shined in pinks and purples, the aroma of delicious hors d’oeuvres filled the air, and the laughter and chatter of guests could be heard throughout The Hotel at Oberlin during the 3rd Annual Pam Faragher Culinary Scholarship Memorial Fundraiser Dinner.

According to JVS Culinary Arts senior instructor, Chef Tim Michitsch, the scholarship fundraiser dinner raised over an astonishing $45,000 in honor of Pam Faragher who was a long-time supporter and guest of the JVS Buckeye Room Restaurant. An additional $50,000 was raised the two years prior.

The event venue, The Hotel at Oberlin, provided the space for the evening’s festivities. Jim Barnhart, JVS 2004 Culinary Alumni, is the Executive Chef of their 1833 Restaurant and sponsored the hors d’oeuvres course.

The evening began with walking hors d’oeuvres and included a seven-course plated dinner for two hundred and eighty people.

All of the courses, along with the specialty cocktails, were donated by former culinary students who travelled in from all over the country including Northeast Ohio; New York City, NY; Greenwich, CT; Dallas, TX; Doylestown, PA; Huron, MI; Hoover, AL; Louisville, KY; and Los Angeles, CA to lend their support and expertise.

“It was so cool watching all of these past students keep walking through the doors,” said Michitsch. “One hundred percent of the products for the night were donated by them, and it’s overwhelming. But aside from the product, they also gave of their time and that is what I am so incredibly thankful for.”

Amos Bigler, Executive Chef at OnTheMarc Events in Greenwich, Connecticut, held back tears when he spoke about what the JVS and the fundraiser means to him. “It is amazing to be a part of something so large and to be able to raise money for such a good cause. JVS is the backbone to my career and it just means so much to me.”

More than forty culinary alumni came back to help with this event, along with current culinary students and JVS staff. Pam Faragher’s family was moved by the generosity of everyone involved and knows Pam would be proud.

Nicholas Walker, Executive Chef at the Joule Hotel’s CBD Provisions Restaurant in downtown Dallas, Texas, said he was happy to be back for the third year of this fundraiser.  “Every year that we do this, it is great to reunite with the alumni and of course, is so wonderful to be able to give back.”

When it comes to describing what makes the JVS culinary academy so special, Walker said, “Chef Michitsch and the JVS faculty put so much effort into the students, to really make sure that by the time we are ready to graduate, we have a solid foundation and a good start to a career path. The effort that they put into the students really is irreplaceable.”

Thanking the guests, alumni, students, and staff in the room, Michitsch said, “This is what good people do, they pay it forward. It is not about us, it is about the people around us.”

Not wanting to shine in the spotlight, Michitsch was overwhelmed when the crowd gave him a standing ovation and his alumni began gathering around him at the end of the night. They wanted to bring attention to what Chef Michitsch means to this culinary community and beyond.

Jason Hembree, Executive Chef at Doylestown Country Club in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, took the mic and expressed his heartfelt emotions about Chef Michitsch, which were clearly expressed by so many in the room. “Without Chef Tim Michitsch, and the years of mentoring he gives, you don’t see any of this, what happened here tonight. We all love him and can’t thank him enough for everything he has done.”

The money raised at this event goes solely towards the Pam Faragher Culinary Memorial Scholarship. The scholarship money awarded each year to a Culinary Academy student who desires to further their education in Culinary, Baking & Pastry or the Hospitality industry, is based on the interest of the money raised.

A sampling of the menu included a risotto, crispy duck, swiss chard, and parmesan dish; pan seared scallops, cauliflower puree, romanesco, d’espelette, marcona almonds, and meyer lemon plate; and a chocolate dome with cremeux and raspberry mousse with a cookie bottom and chocolate mirror glaze, with raspberry puree design for dessert.

The scholarship is part of the Lorain County JVS Educational Foundation, which is administered by The Community Foundation of Lorain County.