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career centerhow to get a scholarship

(02/2002) This article is mainly gauged towards students or future culinary students residing in North America, although some of the scholarships on offer are available to those residing outside the US.

Cooking, as many of you will agree is a tough but rewarding career. The challenge I see for the future of the industry is that the cost of going to cooking school is becoming astronomical and the compensation that a student will be offered is not in line with the cost of being educated (or the cost of being educated is not in line with the compensation, but that is another story).

Some say “no pain no gain” true enough in many cases but when your talking about college loans this does not have to be the case - there are many ways to find financial assistance. After browsing the Internet and making a few phone calls I was able to get some good leads.

Point One
The first thing everyone needs to realize is that virtually all scholarships are only awarded to enrolled students. No scholarships are available to pay off a graduate’s existing loan(s).

First Stop
The financial aid office of the school you attend or wish to attend should be the first stop on your scholarship quest. The aid officer dudes will be able to tell you what is available through the school, and what factors are associated. Often your financial backing - cash money - is a factor, but not in every case.

Important Note

Many applicants do not receive financial awards due to laziness. Failure to complete all the necessary paperwork or not following the task through will yield no success. In many instances a savvy, determined application form-filling student will score several scholarships.

Hit The ‘Net
Claiming to be the Internet's leading scholarship search service, lets students create a personalized profile that can be matched against an expansive database of colleges and scholarships. The service is free and their database has over 600,000 scholarships totaling more than $1 billion. FastWeb also notifies students when new scholarships are added and application deadlines are approaching. The awards available vary, some are granted for something as straight forward as your national origin, having Italian or Greek parents or grandparents can get you a grand. Other awards take a little more work.Many request references and letters of application but these gems can get you as much as ten bills…

Next, Ask James…Beard
The James Beard Foundation is a great resource. The foundation offers assistance to both American and non-American students. Visit their web site and you will see a bounty of opportunities, you might even want to get a passport first - there are several international gigs.

Here are a few examples -

Le Cordon Bleu London England -
Full tuition scholarship, excluding airfare, accommodations, equipment, insurance and uniforms, for the 10-Week Basic Cuisine Course. Scholarship is only available to an entering freshman.

Apicius the Art of Cooking at Lorenzo de’Medici, Florence 50123, Italy -

Full scholarship (approximately $3,700) towards tuition (excluding airfare, lab fees and room and board) for Professional Program of Culinary Arts. Applicant must have telephone interview with Apicius prior to admission.

Ballymaloe Cookery School Shanagarry, Midleton, Co. Cork,
Ireland -

Full scholarship (excluding airfare) for 2 1/2 day cooking demonstrations, including 2 nights of accommodation in self-catering student cottages. The course emphasizes entertaining menus, seafood and vegetarian dishes. Subject to availability.

Alain Ducasse Scholarship (Sponsored by Alain Ducasse)
$10,000 cash scholarship. The scholarship consists of a one-year apprenticeship with the team of Alain Ducasse - six (6) months in Monaco and six (6) months at Ducasse in New York City. ( This one is available to a culinary school grad.)

In addition to the examples listed you will find several cooking schools and individual restaurants offering a variety of scholarships - at a variety of values. You will also find up to 50 scholarships valued at $1,000 and $2,000 each from the James Beard Organization and several other very appealing financial freedom fighting gifts ranging from five to ten large ones from other donors.

The James Beard Foundation allows students the opportunity to apply for more than one scholarship - although you must state which one is your priority. Eligibility factors differ between scholarship but most request an essay as part of the application and all require the applicant to fill out several forms (which can be downloaded from their site). It also goes with out saying that the higher value scholarships come with higher competition, so work hard on your essay.

Cash For The International Crowd
The IACP (International Association of Culinary Professionals) Foundation International Scholarship Program provides funds to qualified applicants for - beginning, continuing and specialty education courses at accredited culinary schools worldwide, as well as, independent study for research projects. Recipients are selected on foodservice experience, strength of application, references, skills and merit. Recipients are not selected based on financial need, awards go as high as $12 500.

Let’s Go Local
Ask your instructors at school about local organizations that give financial assistance to students. The local chapters of the AIWF (American Institute of Wine &Food), ACF (American Culinary Federation) and LDEI (Les Dames d' Escoffier) all offer scholarships gauged towards developing local talent. Another organization with a desire to develop local talent is Charlie Trotter’s Culinary Foundation.

Charlie Trotter’s
The master chef has founded his own organization that offers assistance purely to Illinois residents. Students may attend the school of their choice (it does not have to be in Illinois). The application form can be found on Trotter's web site and again students need to write an essay regarding their professional desire to earn a scholarship. I asked Mary Hegeman ( Assistant to Charlie Trotter ) - what are the criteria used to decide which students receive a scholarship.

"We look for students that really have drive and a passion for the culinary arts. Basically, we look for students that we would want to hire here at the restaurant. The scholarship can go to any amount and we are looking for applicants!"

Charlie Trotter is not the only professional to offer such help so ask around, discover who can save you some cash.

Nothing in life is better than free money, so if you are going to shoot for a scholarship, be commited and follow through with the applications and apply for several. You might even be able to buy your friends a round of beers with the money that is available on your credit card now you are not spending it on tuition...


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