CINCINNATI — People who knew Domenico Germano said he spent his life sharing his talents to make the Tri-State a better place, and his passing won’t change things. COVID-19 took the 73-year-old chef last month. After that, his family talked about how to honor his memory. His sons said they settled on the idea of a scholarship fund for culinary students at Cincinnati State, a place that was dear to their father.
“It’s very wonderful,” Cincinnati State Chief of Institutional Advancement Elliott Ruther said. “The Germano family is looking to honor Chef Germano by supporting our students with a new scholarship. It’s amazing and incredible.”
David Germano agrees. He talked about his father’s trajectory. “He was an immigrant. He came to this country with not very much, and he made an incredible living for himself and his family," he said.
“He was just a fun-loving guy,” his son Marc Germano said. “He was so business-minded… but he was just a joy.” Germano’s was open for 28 years, a fixture on the regional food scene. Marc said his father's other passion was to help the next generation of foodies and chefs.
Karolina Mikesell is one of the many chef's who worked at Germano’s, and learned from the legend. “He was the bar. He always set it high, and he always achieved it,” Mikesell said. Germano inspired her to start her own place, the May Café in Milford.
Like so many, she’s sad about his passing but she said, “He lives in my heart now, and I know he will always be helping me mentally. I’ve learned a lot from him.”
She thinks it’s fitting the Germano family started a scholarship fund to help culinary students at Cincinnati State. In a short time, thanks to donors, the fund has grown to about $11,000.
“It embodies everything that my parents believed in, in terms of paying it forward,” said David Germano.