Brandon Foster left a lasting impression on everyone he worked with and mentored during his four years as the executive chef at Project Angel Heart, and in his many years as a restaurant chef before that. Foster passed away in July 2020, and Project Angel Heart is now launching a culinary training program in his name.
The Brandon Foster Culinary Excellence Fellowship will provide two years of training and leadership for "new and emerging chefs from underrepresented communities in Colorado," according to the organization. Foster's father, Kenneth Foster, has been working with Project Angel Heart's president and CEO, Owen Ryan, to get the fellowship set up.
"We want Brandon to be remembered for his life, not his death," Foster explains. "The fellowship will represent and embody who he was, his values and what he cared about. Owen and I talked, and we thought this could be something that will last for a long time and will represent what Brandon stood for."
Project Angel Heart's mission is to provide medically tailored meals to people living with life-threatening illnesses. The new fellowship will immerse one, or possibly two, recipients in a program that will include nutrition, kitchen management and food policy; public speaking and networking possibilities will also be offered. The fellowship targets (but is not limited to) BIPOC, immigrant, refugee and LGBTQ chefs, and will be a full-time position in the organization's kitchen, with retirement and health benefits included.
"Brandon was committed to giving people who needed it a leg up," Foster adds. "This will extend his compassion and care to others — people who may not otherwise have the opportunity."
Foster says that the project has been in the works for several months. "We made an initial kick-off contribution of $25,000, and altogether we've raised $60,000 so far," he notes. The overall goal is to raise $150,000 for this year's fellowship, which is now accepting applications.
To learn more about the fellowship, to apply or to chip in, see Project Angel Heart's website.
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.