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Since its inception, the Illinois Restaurant Association Educational Foundation has awarded over $3 million to deserving students pursuing Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management in post-secondary degrees. 


2020 IRAEF Scholarship Award Ceremony

On Wednesday, July 15, 2020, the Illinois Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (IRAEF) awarded 69 high school and college students with $96,000 in scholarships. To honor those who have shown a commitment to culinary or hospitality management through their coursework, work experience, and other credentials. The annual scholarship celebration took place virtually and was attended by the students, their families, and teachers, along with donors and IRAEF Board members.

The link to the virtual celebration can be found here: IRAEF Scholarship Ceremony.

James Beard Award-nominated Erick Williams – Chef and Owner of Virtue Restaurant was the keynote note speaker and lent expertise and an inspiring personal narrative.



Honorees received scholarships from the:

  • Charles and Rochelle Trotter 2020 Endowment
  • HMSHost Scholarship Fund
  • Ann and Alvin Rose Scholarship Fund
  • Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits Scholarship Fund
  • Morton’s The Steakhouse
  • Coker Service Inc.
  • For the Love of Chocolate

This year’s scholarship recipients will attend 40 different colleges and universities – a mix of local community/city colleges, state schools, and private institutions throughout the U.S. Some local and state schools include College of DuPage, DePaul University, Kendall College at National Louis University, Roosevelt University, University of Illinois, the University of Illinois at Chicago, Southern Illinois University, and Washburne Culinary and Hospitality Institute. Additional out-of-state institutions include Cornell University, Culinary Institute of America, Johnson & Wales, Purdue University, Sullivan University, Tennessee State University, and the University of Nevada.

2020-2021 Scholarship Application

The 2020-2021 Illinois Restaurant Association Educational Foundation Scholarship application is now closed.

Please contact Kristen Hodges by email: or 312-380-4117 with any questions. The 2021-2022 scholarship application will open this fall.

Click HERE for links to additional scholarship opportunities from other organizations.


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