Family-owned food company Rich Products yesterday announced the creation of a new scholarship for local students to attend The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in Hyde Park, New York. The Dr. Shirley Brown – Rich Products scholarship will send three students from Emerson School of Hospitality (PS 302), a vocational high school focused on the culinary arts, to the CIA—the world’s premier culinary college—to pursue an associate degree in culinary or baking and pastry arts.

The scholarship will be awarded to one Emerson graduating senior each year for three consecutive years (2020-2022). Each scholarship will fund tuition for an Emerson graduate to earn an associate degree and graduate from the CIA. Rich’s also is working toward creating internship opportunities for scholarship recipients, so they can combine their learning alongside Rich’s certified chefs and culinarians.

“This is an opportunity to steward the next generation of culinary leaders and make a real impact on the future of our industry,” says Ted Rich, executive vice president, Organizational Excellence, Rich Products. “As a purpose-driven company, we’re continuously looking for ways we can have a positive impact on our industry, customers, associates and communities. This scholarship pays tribute to one of our beloved culinary associates who embodies both culinary innovation and the purpose of our organization. This initiative is one small way we’re able to pay her passion forward to shape the future of culinary arts.”

“This truly is a life-changing opportunity for our students and one that many otherwise may never have had,” says Dr. Debbie Stokes-White, principal, Emerson School of Hospitality. “I believe these scholarships have the chance to change the trajectory of these students’ lives. I speak for our entire school when I say how thankful we are to Rich’s for this incredible opportunity for our students.”

Dr. Shirley Brown is a 46-year Rich’s associate and the company’s first culinary technical professional. Dr. Brown single-handedly created Rich’s culinary training program from scratch, innovating, influencing, and acting on opportunities to better serve Rich’s customers. Dr. Brown helps Rich’s K-12 school segment customers understand and integrate the company’s products into their own menus.

“I love education and the opportunity to help young people,” says Dr. Brown. “My career at Rich’s has given me a marvelous opportunity to learn and the confidence to try and do things I never thought possible. If I could give these students one piece of advice, it would be that knowledge opens the door to opportunity. Believe in your own abilities, set goals for yourself and don’t ever be afraid to reach for those goals.”

Rich Products and the CIA have a long relationship. Mindy Rich, vice chairman of Rich’s, is a CIA trustee emerita, and Ted Rich is a current CIA trustee. In addition, Rich’s has supported numerous CIA programs, including customer innovation sessions, professional development initiatives, R&D culinary programs, events and conferences, and is an approved site for the required CIA externship.

“The CIA truly values our long-standing relationship with Rich’s,” says Dr. Tim Ryan, president of The Culinary Institute of America. “We share a strong passion for educating future culinary leaders and empowering them to advance the culinary profession into the future. We’re excited to welcome the Dr. Shirley Brown, Rich Products Scholarship students into the CIA family and look forward to watching them make their mark.”