“Students need to learn how to think critically, how to argue opposing ideas. It is important for them to learn how to think. You can always cook.”

Rochelle Trotter Announces Partnership with Illinois Restaurant Association Education Foundation to Support Young Aspiring Chefs

New Partnership Will Allow Charlie Trotter's Culinary Education Foundation to Provide More Scholarhips to Students and Continue Trotter's Legacy of Cultivating Culinary Talent

CHICAGO (February 23, 2016) – Rochelle Trotter, on behalf of Charlie Trotter's Culinary Education Foundation (CTCEF), announced today that the Illinois Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (IRAEF) has been selected as a new strategic partner to achieve the philanthropic vision of the late, renowned Chef Charlie Trotter. Starting in March, IRAEF will oversee the selection and fulfillment of scholarships to talented and deserving youth with a passion for cooking and culinary arts.

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With determination and focus, anything is possible.

Chef Charlie Trotter was renowned for his philanthropic endeavors. In 1999 Chef Trotter founded The Charlie Trotter's Culinary Education Foundation which raises money to award scholarships to youth who have a passion for cooking and food. Additionally, the Foundation endeavors to encourage an enthusiastic pursuit of excellence in youth by exposing them to Chef Trotter’s operating philosophy through various culinary and educational programs.

Trotter received awards at the White House from both President George W. Bush and Colin Powell for his work with his Culinary Foundation and was named one of only five ‘heroes’ to be honored by Colin Powell’s charity, America's Promise Alliance. In 2005, he was awarded the Humanitarian of the Year award by the International Association of Culinary Professionals for his overall service to the community and in 2012 by the James Beard Foundation at their annual James Beard Awards.

Charlie Trotter opened his eponymous restaurant in 1987, spurring a movement to approach food more creatively, especially in the Midwest. He paved the way for many up-and-coming chefs and helped put Chicago’s dining scene on the epicurean map. Trotter received ten James Beard Awards, five stars from Forbes, four stars from the Chicago Tribune and a stream of similar accolades as well as authored 14 cookbooks and hosted the award winning PBS series, The Kitchen Sessions with Charlie Trotter.


Chef Trotter always stated that "access equals opportunity" when it comes to youth and education. With that in mind, we have created a new set of criteria which give the majority of weight (from a 100 point system) to NEED in our new scholarship process. This ensures that those who are most in financial need are in fact given opportunity to apply for funding from The Foundation.

The new scholarship process involves strategic partnerships with organizations (local and national) which will receive dedicated funding in order to establish a CTCEF Scholarship within their organization. Each partner will be held to the same uniform determination guidelines as set forth by the CTCEF Board of Directors. The financial component to determine need is based on the FAFSA government guidelines combined with EFC (Expected Family Contribution).

No individual scholarships will be awarded directly from CTCEF. Instead please see our CTCEF Scholarship section to learn of our partnerships and where to apply for funding.