Grand Rapids Community College (GRCC) culinary students will reap the sweet rewards from a partnership with a local theatre company, Broadway Grand Rapids, and the generosity of theater patrons.
Nearly $15,000 was raised for scholarships for students in GRCC’s Secchia Institute for Culinary Education through the sale of personal pies during the recent run of “Waitress” at DeVos Performance Hall.
Pies played a leading role in the musical about a waitress who bakes her way through heartbreak to happiness. Faculty from the Secchia Institute for Culinary Education and staff from the GRCC Foundation sold “pie in a jar” -- apple crumble and chocolate salted caramel -- before, after and during intermission for each performance.
“These scholarships make a difference for so many students, providing opportunities for them to learn from some of the best chefs in the industry at one of the top culinary programs in the nation,” said Kathryn K. Mullins, vice president for College Advancement and executive director of the GRCC Foundation. “We’re very appreciative of Broadway Grand Rapids for this partnership, and theatergoers for buying every last pie.”
In the weeks leading up to the performances, Broadway Grand Rapids conducted a pie-making competition, with contestants sharing their recipes -- and the stories behind them. Broadway Grand Rapids Executive Director Mike Lloyd and GRCC President Bill Pink served as judges.
“We were happy to leverage the tour stop here of ‘Waitress’ to bring attention to a wonderful community institution,” Lloyd said. “The pie-jar fundraising effort was a fun addition to a visit to the theater and an effective way to ‘feed’ the need for scholarship money.”