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Epicurean Charitable Foundation - Las Vegas

Dear Friends, Supporters and Students,

On behalf of the executive committee, board of directors, members and students, I’d like to thank everyone who came out to support ECF at the inaugural Strikes for Scholarships bowling fundraiser on Saturday, Jan. 11, at South Point Hotel, Casino & Spa. Proceeds from the event will directly benefit the 2014 ECF Scholarship Program, for which we are now accepting applications.

Our students were tasked with planning, promoting and executing Strikes for Scholarships from start to finish and did an incredible job, raising more than $5,000 for future scholarship recipients. They also gained hands-on, real-world event experience that will prove to be invaluable for future job endeavors.

The event featured a fun, casual day of bowling with a variety of food and drink specials along with an exciting balloon-pop raffle. Guests also enjoyed a bowl-and-greet with local celebrities from the casts of “Rock of Ages,” “Jersey Boys” and “Million Dollar Quartet.” Best-selling author and renowned inspirational speaker, Curtis Zimmerman, hosted a special motivational seminar for guests of ECF prior to the event.

Thanks again to everyone who supported Strikes for Scholarships and congratulations to our students on hosting a successful and memorable event. As always, you can share in everything offered by our ECF family by “liking” us on Facebook, connecting with us on LinkedIn and following on Twitter/Instagram @EpicureanLV.

Please encourage any motivated local high school seniors passionate about the food and beverage and hospitality industries to apply at where they can download the 2014 scholarship application. Join us in taking the first step in helping to change their lives.


Melissa Arias
Executive Director of ECF

Melissa Arias - photo  
Strikes for Scholarships

January 11, 2014

ECF celebrated January as National Mentorship Month by hosting the inaugural Strikes for Scholarships bowling fundraiser at South Point Hotel, Casino & Spa.

The event featured a collegiate theme and provided fun for guests of all ages with students and board members encouraged to invite their family and friends. Strikes for Scholarships was sponsored by Five Star Restaurants LLC and South Point Hotel.


ECF group photo at Strikes for Scholarships

ECF Students, board members and executives celebrate Strikes for Scholarships

Rock of Ages

Becca Kotte, Matt Meigs, Carrie St. Louis and Bob Torti of “Rock of Ages” hit the lanes at Strikes for Scholarships

  ECF students

ECF students Alexandria Von Mohr, Beatriz Portillo-Sorrosa, Jordan Moore and Wendy Pimental work the registration table at Strikes for Scholarships

Sanchez family

ECF student Mercedes Sanchez (center) with her family at Strikes for Scholarships

  ECF students with the casts of Jersey Boys, Rock of Ages, and Million Dollar Quartet

ECF President and Vice President of Food & Beverage for MGM Grand, Jason Shkorupa, at Strikes for Scholarships with his family

Christina Clifton,Gordon Ramsay BURGR, Chefs and ECF Students

ECF students with the casts of “Jersey Boys,” “Rock of Ages” and “Million Dollar Quartet”

Guests at Strikes for Scholarships

Guests show off their school spirit at Strikes for Scholarships

  Kid bowling at Strikes for Scholarships

Click HERE to view the full photo gallery


ECF awards scholarships in amounts of up to $33,000 for students attending UNLV and up to $48,000 for those choosing to attend a trade school or another institute of higher learning. The award covers cost of tuition, books and administrative fees.

To be eligible, students must be Clark County high school seniors who plan to attend an accredited post-secondary institution as a full-time student during the academic year following their graduation. Applicants must also plan to pursue a bachelor’s degree and major in hotel management, food and beverage, culinary arts or a related program. Additional scholarship qualifications include a cumulative GPA of 2.75 or higher and demonstrate the need for financial support. To remain eligible, students must maintain a minimum GPA of 3.00 and volunteer for at least 40 hours of community service per year.

Downloadable applications and more information is available HERE or by calling 702.932.5098. Submissions for the 2014 class must be postmarked by Friday, Feb. 28, and mailed to the ECF office at 6765 S. Eastern Avenue, Suite 1, Las Vegas, Nev., 89123.


Getting to know …

Beatriz Portillo-Sorrosa  

Beatriz Portillo-Sorrosa

High School: Valley High School
College: University of Las Vegas, Nevada – Class of 2015
Major: Hospitality Administration
Current Job: Games Operator at Circus Circus Hotel & Casino
Mentor: Ken Johnson


What does ECF mean to you?
“ECF is made up of a group of people who genuinely want to see students succeed and will provide any necessary advice and resources toward reaching that goal. They will push you out of your comfort zone so that you’ll be confident enough to walk up to any leading industry executive and introduce yourself.”

Describe the relationship with your mentor:
“My mentor has a lot of experience in the industry and is happy to share it with me. I have sat in on project meetings for bars that he has built, met the people he works closely with and have learned so much about what is happening in Downtown Las Vegas.”

What interests you in pursuing a career in hospitality or the culinary arts?
“My mentor has a lot of experience in the industry and is happy to share it with me. I have sat in on project meetings for bars that he has built, met the people he works closely with and have learned so much about what is happening in Downtown Las Vegas.”

Jasmyn Franklin  

Jasmyn Franklin

High School: Valley High School
College: Penn State University – Class of 2014
Major/Minor: Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Management
Current Job: Student Trainer at Redifer, South Food District (Penn State)
Mentor: Scott Farber


What does ECF mean to you?
“ECF is a family of philanthropic students, leaders and executives who understand the importance of community and preparing for the future. Along with business etiquette, I’ve learned how to effectively portray my most positive attributes when building a professional network. ECF provides students with life-changing opportunities.”

Where do you see yourself in five years?
“Throughout my college career I have participated in many activities and organizations. Currently, I serve as national chairwoman for the National Society of Minorities in Hospitality (NSMH), recruitment student ambassador for Penn State School of Hospitality and as a leader for JumpStart.”

If you could eat dinner with three people from the past or present, who would you choose and why?
1. My Future Retired Self
“I would like to have dinner with myself to gain insight on what I did well with my life and what I would suggest doing differently. Of course, with this knowledge my future would change, but my wiser self would be smart enough to share only the most important decisions worth changing.”

2. Former Philippine President Benigno Aquino, Jr.
“His courageous spirit brought the Philippines to great heights and he used his power to help his country. After being exiled by President Marcos, he returned home to fight for his people and died in 1983. I would like to have dinner with him because out of billions of people who have walked the earth, there are only a handful who have changed the world.”

3. Mariah Carey
“When I was younger, my mother and I would always sing her songs in the car, and I sang one of her songs as part of the choir for a concert. She has a talent that few can duplicate, and would bring the life of song to the dinner!”


Congratulations to Nachely Martinez and Nexie Hingpit, who both graduated from UNLV in December. Nachely earned a bachelor’s degree in hospitality management with a minor in Spanish, while Nexie earned a degree in meetings and event management.

Vildan Buric  

Vildan Buric, a senior at UNLV, was recently promoted to front desk agent at Mandarin Oriental, Las Vegas.

Joe Romano  

Please join us in welcoming Joe Romano as the newest ECF board member. He currently serves as vice president of operations for PT’s Entertainment Group.

Luiz Oliveira  

Luiz Oliveira, owner of Sambalatte Torrefazione, will open a second location at the corner of Sunset Rd. and Jones Blvd.


ECF has been able to provide financial support and guidance to students for more than 12 years thanks to generous contributions from donors and sponsors, including: Feel Good Brands, FIJI Water, Johnson Brothers/E&J Gallo, MGM Resorts International, Back Bar USA, Southern Wine & Spirits, Wirtz Beverage, Avero LLC and more. Future donors can support ECF with a monetary or in-kind donation, by matching a gift or by becoming a scholarship or M.E.N.U.S sponsor.

ECF is not only dedicated to enriching the lives of local hospitality students, but also to positively impacting the Las Vegas community on the whole. Recently, the Foundation made generous contributions to other local philanthropic organizations including donations of $25,000 to Keep Memory Alive, $15,000 to Nevada’s Latin Chamber of Commerce and $15,000 to the Nevada Blind Children’s Foundation.

For more information, please contact Melissa Arias at 702.932.5098, [email protected] or visit the ECF website at


FOX 5 – Michael Kennedy and Mercedes Sanchez for Strikes for Scholarships

News 3

NBC 3 – Melissa Arias and Jordan Moore for Strikes for Scholarships

ABC 13 - Action News – Strikes for Scholarships

Las Vegas Weekly

Las Vegas Weekly - Four Thoughts from M.E.N.U.S.


FOX 5 - Michael Kennedy, AJ Johnson and Chef Terence Fong of Zenshin for M.E.N.U.S.


Las Vegas Sun


Smart & Final


Smart & Final

Upcoming ECF Events  We hope you'll join us at MENUS on Friday, Sept. 30 at M Resort.  The evening will culminate in a private concert by Lifehouse.  For sponsorship and event information please contact Elizabeth Muto at 702.932.5098 or via email at
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