CLEVELAND, Ohio — Over 50 students from Cuyahoga Community College’s restaurant, hospitality management and culinary arts programs show off their skills at the annual Small Bites, Big Dreams scholarship fundraiser.

  • Gives students a chance to put their talents on display
  • Celebrated Cleveland chefs work side-by-side with Tri-C students
  • All funds raised through ticket sales and the silent auction go to scholarships for culinary students

“A parsnip and ricotta with a truffle ravioli on top of is going to go with a parsnips chip very well, like a potato chip, but a lot sweeter. On top of that is going to be a gremolata. With the gremolata you're going to have parsley, a little bit of thyme, lemon zest, garlic and shallot.” Matthew Rairdon, of Cuyahoga Community College said. 

Small Bites, Big Dreams allows attendees to dine on dishes prepared by celebrated Cleveland chefs, who work side-by-side with Tri-C students at active food stations.

Culinary student Matthew Rairdon was paired with Chef Chris Cafcsak, of Nomad Culinary, one of Raridon’s culinary inspirations. 

“Once they announced the event, I couldn't wait to get my foot in the door, it's a great experience to be working hand-in-hand, one on one with a chef. So, it's a great opportunity that I could not pass up. “Rairdon said. 

The dean of Tri-C’s hospitality management program Michael Huff says all funds raised through ticket sales and the silent auction go straight to scholarships to ensure every student's culinary dreams become a reality. 

“This event impacts individual lives, in that it helps support student scholarships and helps individuals connect to the industry and helps individuals start a new career, but it also has a larger impact because it brings neighborhoods together, it brings people together, and it fosters that sense of community that's so important, particularly in education.” Huff said. 

Each participating chef is a member of the school's culinary council, mentoring Tri-C students year-round. 

"Tri-C has done a lot for me. They have produced a lot of my employees that work with me right now,” Chef Eric Wells, of Skye LaRae’s Culinary Services, said. 

Culinary student Kai Crawford says gaining real-world experience by working with a chef she looks up to has been invaluable. 

“Chef Brit like literally enfolded me into her kitchen, and I got to work there for a day and see how a real pastry shop is run it. It was wonderful!” she said.