Dinner In The Dark, an impromptu dinner series designed to stimulate diners’ palates by offering no clues to the menu or who will be cooking, is hosting a special edition dinner to honor Matthew Finkel. Matthew passed away on December 29, 2010 in a car accident at the age of 22 — he was an amazing individual and a talent in the kitchen, who at a very young age became a part of Food Network’s family. This event, which features over 15 chefs offering small bites, will help the Matthew Finkel Scholarship Fund. The Fund is dedicated to helping culinary students with extreme financial need, who are attending the Culinary Institute of America.
“In evaluating all the candidates in conjunction with the CIA for the scholarship, Matthew Finkel definitely stood out in the crowd,” says Bruce Seidel, Senior Vice President of Programming.
“He was an amazing individual full of compassion, passion and the type of person who took care of everyone around him while he sacrificed for all. Matthew touched our hearts with the way he helped others, so the team at Food Network wanted to graciously help him and awarded Matthew our scholarship.”
Price is $40.00 per person, all inclusive. The dinner also offers great raffle drawing prizes including two VIP tickets to a filming of Iron Chef America.
Purchase tickets here for the May 23 event in Cleveland, Ohio.
Matthew grew up in a two bed room apartment in the Bronx with his mother, father, grandfather, grandmother, two sisters and brother. He loved to cook ever since he was a young boy. At the age of eight, he started helping his mother, who was going blind, prepare meals for the family. He was a very good guitarist who began playing at the age of 10 and loved Jimi Hendrix, as well as composing his own music. He enjoyed working with computers and would help anyone who was having technical trouble. He also had a great heart — he would help anyone with anything, whether or not he had time to spare.
But it was cooking that was his main passion. He would read cookbooks to learn and try out recipes because he knew he wanted to be a chef. He dreamed of going to culinary school, but knew it was financially impossible. While in high school he learned of Food Network’s full scholarship offering to the CIA, including full room and board. Out of countless applicants, he was chosen most deserving and was awarded the scholarship during Food Network Awards in 2007 by Catherine Zeta Jones and Aaron Eckhart. He received his Bachelors of Professional Studies in Baking and Pastry Management from CIA in May 2010. After graduating, he went to work for Bravo TV’s Top Chef winner Harold Dieterle at his Manhattan restaurant Perilla. He moved to Ohio last October to start a life with fiancé Kirsten Brayn, whom he met and fell in love with while they both attended school. Matthew was working in Ohio at an artisanal bread shop — The Bread Chef in Boardman, Ohio, as well as Ely Pugh’s Vegan restaurant, Ely’s To-Go.
“He will always be part of our Food Network-family.”