Chefs and Cooks of Montana

Chefs and Cooks of Montana

James V. DeVerniero was born in 1922 in New Haven, Connecticut, into a family of nine children. He grew up working in the family restaurant business and barber shop. After visiting Montana, Jimmy and his wife, Mickey, moved their family to Billings in 1959 and started a restaurant. Jimmy was an avid chef, and active in and a charter member of the Chefs and Cooks Association of Montana. In 2002, the club honored him by establishing the Chefs and Cooks of Montana – Jimmy DeVerniero Endowed Scholarship fund. Jimmy passed away peacefully on November 18, 2004, at age 82. The first scholarship was awarded in academic year 2003-2004.

Aaron Small was born in New York City in 1923. He served in World War II in the Pacific Islands, earned a B.A. in history, an M.A. in literature, and a Ph.D. in comparative literature. Dr. Aaron Small was widowed early on and raised his three children by himself. While living in New Mexico, he opened a Mexican restaurant. In 1955, he moved to Montana, started teaching English at Eastern Montana College (now MSU Billings), and became a member of the Montana Chef’s Association. Dr. Small taught at Eastern Montana College from 1955-1985. He was greatly respected by his peers and students. Dr. Small was well known for his anecdotes both in and out of the classroom. He prided himself on entertaining his audiences with a great sense of humor. Dr. Small was also an accomplished chef and a leader in the Montana Chef’s Association. In honor of Dr. Small’s service to both EMC and the Chefs and Cooks of Montana, the Chefs and Cooks of Montana established the Chefs and Cooks of Montana – Dr. Aaron Small Endowed Scholarship in 2004. The first scholarship was awarded in academic year 2005-2006. Dr. Small passed away on December 1, 2010, at the age of 87. His legacy will continue on through the scholarship established in his name.


“A smaller campus and one that cares is what I wanted out of my university experience, and that’s why I chose MSUB. Everyone is there to help, and they work well with transfer students from smaller colleges. Pursuing my dreams and staying in Eastern Montana are now a reality in par because of your generosity… Again, thank you so much for your generosity to the University and me. It is beyond appreciated.” – Amy B., Accounting major

“I am so incredibly honored by your generosity selecting me to receive this award. This means so much to my family and I. Thank you so much for choosing me. I want to provide the kind, loving, compassionate, and respectful care that leaves an impression. I want to be the person that makes an experience memorable.” – Cassandra C., Nursing major