Valley City Linen Announces Winners of 2012 Culinary Scholarships

Mar 30, 2012

‘Dream of Becoming a Chef’ One Step Closer to Reality for Students Attending GRCC’s Secchia Institute of Culinary Education and the Culinary Institute of Michigan at Baker College

For three culinary arts students in West Michigan, ‘dreams can come true,’ thanks to the help of Valley City Linen, Michigan’s largest family owned linen service. Valley City Linen, headquartered in Grand Rapids with operations in Detroit/Oak Park and Traverse City, celebrated its 76th anniversary this year, and according to Jeff Jeltema, co-owner and grandson of founder Paul Jeltema, Sr., much of the company’s success has been built in partnership with the restaurant and hospitality industries. Consequently, “As a means of ‘paying our success forward,’ Valley City Linen partnered with The Secchia Institute of Culinary Education at Grand Rapids Community College, the Culinary Institute of Michigan at Baker College in Muskegon, the Ferris State University Culinary Management Program in Big Rapids, and the Culinary Arts Program at Henry Ford Community College in Dearborn to offer currently enrolled students the chance to win one of three $1000 scholarships.”

Students could register from March 1-25, 2012 on the Valley City Linen’s website. On March 26th company officials drew the following winners, and Jeltema presented each with a check on Friday, March 30, 2012:

  • Todd Linsley of Grand Rapids; Linsley attends the Secchia Institute (2013 anticipated graduation)
  • Margaret Westerhof of Grandville; Westerhof attends the Secchia Institute (2013 anticipated graduation)
  • Amanda Baumeister of New Era; Baumeister attends the Culinary Institute of Michigan (2012 anticipated graduation)

For Todd Linsley, the scholarship money will help him get one step closer to achieving his dream of “becoming an executive chef at one of the Gilmore restaurants. He “understands it will take a lot of hard work and many years, but I’m up to the challenge.” Ultimately, Linsley wants to “gain all the experience and knowledge I can and open my own restaurant someday. I find great joy in cooking for people and I feel to run my own restaurant would be the greatest accomplishment of my life.” In addition to taking classes at the Secchia Institute, Linsley works as a line cook at Roses in East Grand Rapids.

Margaret Westerhof also dreams of using her culinary talents to open her own business. “I want to be a candy maker, and create pies, tarts and chocolates.” Westerhof balances her busy class load while working as a member of the food and beverage staff at Frederik Meijer Gardens.

Amanda Baumeister has a special expertise in gluten free foods and it is her goal upon graduation to create menus that surpass the expectations of people with Celiac Disease by offering dishes that will make them forget about what they are missing.”