Oak & Reel Launches Scholarship Fund for DBG Students Interested in Culinary Careers

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of chefs and head cooks is expected to grow significantly in the next decade, with tens of thousands of job openings nationwide each year. With that in mind, the Downtown Boxing Gym and award-winning Detroit restaurant Oak & Reel are pleased to announce a new scholarship fund for students interested in careers in culinary arts and hospitality. 

DBG inspires and prepares young people to pursue their dreams and has a popular culinary arts program for youth ages 8-18 in its new commercial kitchen. Molly Mitchell, who owned the beloved Detroit diner Rose’s Fine Food, leads the program and prepares more than 1,000 from-scratch meals each week with student participation.

“Our program is based on student interests and student voice – and cooking and nutrition are a popular choice,” said Khali Sweeney, DBG’s founder and CEO. “While the kids enjoy it and have fun, cooking also helps reinforce literacy and math skills, and teaches things like teamwork, focus, and responsibility. You can’t just leave a pot boiling on the stove and walk away. If you want your recipe to come out right, you have to measure and follow specific steps. This is an important life skill and also a great career opportunity. We are grateful for Oak & Reel’s partnership and support.”

The DBG scholarship fund will kick off April 11-12 with Oak & Reel’s Culinary Collective event. The chef series presented by Motor City Seafood, is a unique dining experience where the team at Oak & Reel hosts and collaborates with celebrated chefs from across the country. The series begins with Chef Hemant Mathur, the first Indian chef in the U.S. to maintain a Michelin star across two NYC restaurants. A percentage of every ticket sold will go into the scholarship fund made accessible to DBG students. 

“It’s always a goal of mine to be more and to do more,” said Jared Gadbaw, Oak & Reel’s Michelin starred chef. “To be able to donate to an outstanding organization like the Downtown Boxing Gym and support and inspire the next generation of chefs and hospitality professionals aligns perfectly with my passion for food and its ability to bring people together for positive change.”

The Culinary Collective series continues June 6-7, 2024 with Chef Erik Anderson, a California-based chef who has worked and earned accolades around the world, and September 26-27, 2024 with Chef Anita Lo, a French trained chef and cookbook author who grew up in metro Detroit and has cooked for presidents, appeared on national cooking shows, and hosts culinary tours around the planet.

For more information on the Culinary Collective and to purchase tickets, visit: oakandreel.com/culinary-collective.

In addition to the funds raised through the Culinary Collective, a series of unique experiences and collaborations will be activated throughout the year including community gardening events, cooking classes at DBG, a summer barbeque and internship opportunities for students. All proceeds raised throughout the year will go toward the scholarship fund which will be allocated to support DBG upperclassmen (high school juniors and seniors) who have expressed an interest in culinary arts. 

The final scholarship amount will be determined Oct 1, 2024 and allocations will be made based on where the greatest value will be created to nurture student career goals.

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