Joe Romanowski Culinary Education Foundation

JOCEF creates food based events to benefit scholarships for passionate and deserving culinary students from The Jersey Shore.

In memory of Chef Joe Romanowski 1960-2013


Our mission

The mission of the Joe Romanowski Culinary Education Foundation (JOCEF) is to create food-based events to provide funding for scholarships for deserving and passionate culinary students from the Jersey Shore. The Foundation was established in memory of Joseph Romanowski, who mentored and nurtured many of the Jersey Shore’s finest up-and-coming chefs. Scholarships will be awarded to students of the Culinary Education Center, a collaboration between Brookdale Community College and the Monmouth County Vocational School District.  In the first four years, JOCEF awarded more than $150,000 in scholarships.

We are a 501c3 organization
Tax ID# 46-3600376


About Joe Romanowski

Joe’s love of food began during childhood. The oldest of five boys, the Romanowski family showed love with big tables of food and lots of relatives. Joe developed his talent through blood, sweat and tears and never settled until the dish or technique was perfect often saying “If you can’t do it right, don’t do it at all.”

Joe was passionate about everything he did and always put others before himself. His big heart and bigger talent led him to celebrity chef status.

A graduate of the Culinary institute of America, he was the chef/owner of acclaimed restaurants Joe & Maggie's Bistro in Long Branch and Bay Ave. Trattoria in Highlands.

Joe's Legacy

I have supported the JOCEF event since day one as a tribute to Joe and his contributions to the Jersey Shore’s amazing culinary scene. Joe lived the restaurant business. He was a role model and a mentor to many through his passion for the restaurant business.
— Steve Bidgood, co-owner of Salt Creek Grille and N.J. Restaurateur of the Year 2015
I will always be thankful for the opportunities and knowledge that Joe passed onto me through my eight years of working for him. I respected Joe because he was the most talented chef I ever worked with in my career. Joe taught me that being a chef is like being an artist. His advice is the creative force behind many of my dishes at my restaurant. I want the legacy of Joe Romanowski to live on and that’s why I am happy to participate in the JOCEF Recipe for Success!
— Chris Atamian, chef/owner Porcini in Highlands
I am so honored to continue the legacy of my very talented friend, Chef Joe Romanowski. It’s so fulfilling to know that his passion for the culinary arts will continue in his name to those young and talented students who share his fervor for cooking. JOCEF is a great organization that works hard in continuing that legacy, I’m very thankful for their hard work in accomplishing that goal.
— Big Joe Henry, NJ 101.5 radio host and emcee for "Recipe for Success"