Culinary arts is without a doubt one of the most interesting and useful professions. Unfortunately, entering a career in culinary arts can be a long and difficult journey. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary of a cook is around $40,000, but many earn much less, especially immediately after graduation. For students who rely solely on student loans to pay for culinary school, this can be bad news. There are many culinary scholarships that can help, however. If your passion is in the culinary arts, these scholarships can help you pay for your education without taking on too much student debt.
Steve Hymans Extended Stay Scholarships
These culinary scholarships are in honor of Steve Hyman, renowned professional of the hospitality industry. To be eligible for these scholarships, students must be enrolled full-time in a hospitality related program and must have at least a 3.0 GPA. In addition, applicants must be citizens or permanent residents of the U.S. and have some experience at a lodging property. Scholarships range from $1,000 to $3,000 in value, as determined by the student’s school. Students cannot apply for these scholarships, but must be recommended by their respective schools. For further information, visit the scholarship site here.
AH&LEF Incoming Freshman Scholarship
These culinary scholarships were started in 2008 to encourage entrance into hospitality-related degree programs. To be eligible for funding, students must be incoming freshmen for the award year and must be enrolled at least 12 credit hours for both fall and spring semesters. In addition, students must have at least a 2.0 GPA and be citizens or permanent residents of the United States. Preference is given to high school graduates of the Lodging Management Program or the Hospitality and Tourism Management Program. Awards are $1,000 for full-time associate’s degree programs and $2,000 for full-time bachelor’s degree programs. To apply, students must complete the official application between January 1 and May 1. The official application and details are available at scholarships.ahlef.org.
These culinary scholarships were started in 1996 to demonstrate Ecolab’s commitment to the industry and to develop future hospitality leaders. To be eligible, students must be enrolled full-time for both fall and spring semesters. Awards are $1,000 and $2,000 for associate’s programs and bachelor’s programs, respectively. To apply, students must submit the official application and supporting documents between January 1 and May 1. Students can find applications and details at the Ecolab Scholarship website.
American Express Scholarship
The American Express culinary scholarships were started in 1994 for lodging employees and their children. To be eligible, students must be enrolled full- or part-time in a hospitality-related degree program and must be working at least 20 hours per week at an AH&LA member hotel with at least one year of experience. Alternatively, students can be dependents of qualified employees who have some past experience in hospitality. Students in bachelor’s programs receive $1,000 for part-time study or $2,000 for full-time study. Those in associate’s programs receive $1,000 for full-time study or $500 for part-time study. To apply, students must submit the official application between January 1 and May 1. Full scholarship details and applications are available at the scholarship website.
Illinois Restaurant Association Educational Foundation Scholarships
The Illinois Restaurant Association culinary scholarships help budding foodservice professionals meet the costs of getting a formal education. To qualify for funding, students must be permanent residents of Illinois and be accepted to an accredited college, university, or culinary school. Students must be taking at least 8 credit hours each term and be majoring in restaurant management, culinary arts, or a foodservice program. If you think you qualify, complete the application at www.illinoisrestaurants.org.
CANFIT Program Scholarships
The CANFIT culinary scholarships are designed to help minority students enter careers in the culinary arts. To be eligible for these scholarships, students must be enrolled in a California culinary arts program and must be of African American, American Indian, Alaska Native, Pacific Islander, Asian American, or Latino/Hispanic descent. To access the formal application and detailed program information, visit the official site at canfit.org. The application deadline is March 31.
Wisconsin Bakers Association
The culinary scholarships provided by the Wisconsin Bakers Association were started in 1984. Since that date, more than $25,000 has been awarded to culinary students. The program provides $1,000 to each student per calendar year. Eligible candidates must be Wisconsin residents who are pursuing a degree in baking and pastry arts. In addition, candidates must have worked for a bakery for a minimum of 500 hours, be at least 18 years old, and have completed high school or have a GED. Applicants must be submitted along with three references, a resume, a statement of career objectives, and an explanation of why the scholarship funds are deserved or needed. Interested students may apply at www.wibakers.com.
CRAEF Scholarship Program
To be eligible for the CRAEF culinary scholarships, applicants must be citizens or permanent residents of the United States and must be residents of California. Candidates must also be enrolled in at least nine credit hours at a higher education institution and must have at least a 2.75 GPA. Students must also be graduating high school seniors or have completed at least one grading term in a postsecondary program. Finally, students must have completed at least 250 hours of experience if they are high school seniors, 400 hours if they are college freshmen, or 550 hours if they are in their sophomore or higher years of college. To apply, students must submit an application along with a typed essay, a copy of the college program curriculum, a high school or college transcript, proof of work experience, and two letters of recommendation from employers by May 15. Applications are available at www.calrest.org
AAC Culinary Scholarships for High School Seniors
These culinary scholarships, offered by the American Academy of Chefs, are designed for students at all levels who wish to further their educations and become certified. Applications must be submitted along with all requested documentation by email or postal mail by the due date on the application. Further scholarship details and official applications are available at www.acfchefs.org.
ACF Julia Child Memorial Scholarship
The ACF Julia Child Memorial culinary scholarships are available based on private and institutional funds. In order to be eligible for the scholarships, students must have at least a 2.5 GPA, be enrolled in an accredited college or university with a major in pastry or culinary arts, or be an apprentice registered with the ACFEF. Students must have completed at least one grading period and be intending to become a pastry chef or chef. Recipients will be chosen based on GPA, participation in culinary competitions, volunteer service in industry and school activities, involvement in the American Culinary Federation, a written essay, and reference letters. Applications and scoring details are available for viewing at www.acfchefs.org.
Culinary Institute of America
The Culinary Institute of America offers multiple culinary scholarships. The SAT/ACT Achievement Scholarship is available in the amount of $1,000 to students who have a combined SAT score of 1,000 or an ACT score of 22, or $2,000 for students with a 1,200 combined SAT or 27 ACT score. Students may also apply for National Student Organization Competition Scholarships. These scholarships are available to students who place first, second, or third nationally or first at the state level in SkillsUSA, ProStart, or FCCLA competitions. These scholarships range in value from $1,000 to $4,000 and are renewable for students who maintain a 3.0 or higher GPA. Scholarships details and applications are available at www.ciachef.edu.
National Candy Technologists Scholarship
The American Association of Candy Technologists offers the John Kitt Memorial culinary scholarships in the amounts of $5,000, paid in two installments. Eligible students must be college sophomores or higher and have demonstrated an interest in confectionery technology. In addition, applicants must be attending an accredited college or university in the U.S. and be majoring in chemical science, food science, biological science, or a related field with at least a 3.0 GPA. Interested students must submit the official application and supporting documents by April 12.
If you have a passion for the culinary arts, these scholarships can take the financial burden from getting your formal training. There are culinary scholarships to fit every need and interest, waiting for you to claim them.