Six years later, aspiring chef’s memory lives on through scholarship

COURTESY PHOTO | Patricia Hautsch kisses her son, Ryan, in this picture from a family cruise in 2006.

Ryan Hautsch wanted to be a chef, his family said Sunday afternoon. He worked as a busboy, then a line cook at the Jamesport Country Kitchen. He dreamed up his own versions of classic recipes, like a chicken cordon bleu with american cheese that his parents still remember.

He wanted to open up a restaurant; “G-ma’s” was going to be the name, his sister Jessica said. He planned to cook up and serve his grandmother’s old recipes in the eatery.

“He was a really genuinely good kid,” Ryan’s sister said.

COURTESY PHOTO | In this photo, Ryan works as a line cook just a week before his fatal accident. “He was in his element in the kitchen,” his mother says.

It’s been six years now since as Ryan, a then 17-year-old Riverhead High School senior, was killed in a car accident in January 2007. But the memorial scholarship that helps other aspiring chefs pay for their education is still going strong, family members said.

About 70 people attended the fifth annual Ryan Hautsch Memorial Buffet Lunchon at the Jamesport Manor Inn Sunday afternoon. Family friends, old acquaintances and coworkers who knew Ryan all attended, with all of the proceeds going toward the Ryan Hautsch Scholarship Fund.

“We find this amazing because every year we debate whether to do [the luncheon] or not,” said Rowland Hautsch, Ryan’s father. “But we get such a response, it’s a no brainer.”

Ryan’s mother, Patricia Hautsch, said she’s grateful for the way the family’s friends rally around the cause every year.

Matt Kar, owner of the Jamesport Manor Inn, who also owns the Jamesport Country Kitchen, where Ryan worked, lets the family use his restaurant for free each year, she said.

“The community has been really really supportive,” she said.

Each June, three collegebound students studying culinary arts from Riverhead High School or Suffolk BOCES are awarded the $1,000 scholarships, Ms. Hautsch said.

The scholarship originally started because Ms. Hautsch didn’t want to receive flowers for Ryan’s wake, but the family says it’s become a way to turn the tragedy of losing Ryan into something positive, a way to carry on his passion for cooking.

“For a 17-year-old to die, it’s so senseless,” Jessica Hautsch said. “It’s a horrible tragedy but … something positive [can] come out of this for the community.”

If you wish to donate to the scholarship, donations can be made out to the Ryan Hautsch Scholarship Fund, Suffolk County National Bank, P.O. Box 9000, Riverhead, N.Y.

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