On Sunday, June 23, the Illinois Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (IRAEF) awarded 84 hardworking high school students with $180,000 in scholarships. Honoring those who have shown commitment to Culinary or Hospitality Management through their coursework, work experience and other credentials, the annual scholarship luncheon, held at Current Kitchen and sponsored by Eurest/Compass Group, was attended by the students’ families and teachers along with donors and IRAEF board members.


The recipients at Sunday’s luncheon plan to attend 37 different, post-secondary culinary and hospitality management programs across the country. During the ceremony, Illinois Restaurant Association President and CEO Sam Toia wished the students much success and additional speakers included Honey Butter Fried Chicken Chef and Partner Christine Cikowski and Eurest Division President Jim Kallas.


This year, the inaugural Joe Perrino Memorial Scholarship was also awarded to two students, each receiving $2,500. A well-respected businessman who turned his family’s business into a frozen pizza empire, Perrino’s legacy will live on as the scholarship was created in his honor. Perrino’s family attended the ceremony, and recipients included Mongohnay Brown, who will attend Monroe College, and Lisa Zamudio, who will attend Robert Morris University. Both are from the Pilsen and Little Village neighborhoods where Home Run Inn’s flagship store is located.