“A close family member of mine was physically and sexually abused as a child,” says Corey Heyer a chef participating in JBWS’ Grand Tastings XXIX. “I wish an organization like JBWS was around for them growing up.”
When Heyer first participated at Grand Tastings in the early 2000s, he wasn’t too familiar with JBWS’ mission. However, after learning about JBWS’ services and hearing a survivor’s story, he couldn’t stop thinking about his family member.
“There are so many levels of abuse and it’s important to make people aware of that,” says Heyer, the Executive Chef at Canoe Brook Country Club. “By listening to the survivors’ speaker at Grand Tastings, I’ve learned so much more about domestic violence.”
As the years progressed, Heyer deepened his relationship with JBWS. He is currently a Chef Coordinator for the event and helps recruit numerous top chefs to participate in Grand Tastings each year.
“By nature of our profession, chefs get invited to these types of events and they initially come for the culinary aspect of it,” says Heyer. “But once they experience the real truth of why we’re here, it’s powerful and they want to keep coming back.”
For Heyer, Grand Tastings offers both personal and professional fulfillment.
“It’s wonderful to get together with the top chefs of New Jersey to support such a meaningful event,” says Heyer. “I’ve made life-long friends I met at this event and Grand Tastings is the one night of the year I know I’ll always get to see them.”