3 Scholarships for Culinary Arts Majors

The United States is known for many things worldwide, both positive and negative, but one thing that remains constant through all lenses is our culinary diversity. Whether it’s seafood and gumbo in New Orleans, pizza and deli sandwiches in New York, steak in Chicago, or sushi in San Francisco, our country has held steadfast to the “melting pot” nickname in terms of food. Our cuisine blends aspects of all the cultures that arrived to pursue the “American Dream” of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

The American Dream is often capped with a high-paying job gained through either social mobility or higher education. It dovetails nicely with this, then, that many of the most sought-after jobs in our country are in the culinary industry. In a country of over 300 million, there is never a shortage of caterers, restaurateurs, and chefs. To move from a short-order cook at a diner to an executive chef in Las Vegas, however, often requires more than just hard work. Some scholarships for budding culinary arts students hoping to achieve their dreams include the following:

A person at a stove stirring a pot.

Clark E. DeHaven Scholarship

Amount: $5,000

Deadline: TBD for 2021

While our parents may not look fondly back upon their college dining experiences, our generation benefits from several organizations dedicated to changing campus food for the better. The National Association of College and University Food Services, or NACUFS, supports and endorses high-quality meals on college campuses.

In an effort to pique interest among culinary students, NACUFS sponsors a scholarship each year, named in honor of the first director of the organization, Clark E. DeHaven. The DeHaven Scholarship, in its own words, “provide[s] merit scholarships to students at member institutions who are committed to pursuing careers in accredited programs in the food-service profession or related areas.” To qualify for the DeHaven award, students must be enrolled at a NACUFS institution of higher learning and have a minimum 2.75 GPA. The top prize? A merit scholarship with a financial stipend of $5,000. Since the program began in the early nineties, nearly a quarter-million dollars have been awarded in financial grants.

The Vegetarian Resource Group College Scholarship

Amount: $10,000; $5,000

Deadline: February 20, 2021

According to a 2013 study by Public Policy Polling, nearly 14% of Americans identify as either vegetarian or vegan, a statistically huge jump from the seventies, where the same poll found less than 1% identified as vegetarians. In today’s modern society, activism is becoming more and more prominent, whatever the cause may be. Vegetarianism certainly seems to follow this trend.

The Vegetarian Resource Group, an online newsletter and resource site for vegetarians, has recently begun sponsoring a scholarship for a graduating high school student who has promoted vegetarianism in their community, either through activism or culinary means. The winning student gets a whopping $20,000 towards their college education. While not exclusive to students pursuing a career in food or food preparation, past recipients have chosen to go this route. Some even hope to open their own organic vegetarian or vegan restaurants in the near future.

C-CAP Scholarships

Amount: Varying

Deadline: Check C-CAP site

Johnson & Wales University, with four locations nationwide, is widely renowned for its culinary and hospitality programs. The college, with campuses in Providence, Charlotte, Miami, and Denver, placed as the tenth-best culinary institution in the country, alongside world-renowned programs such as the Culinary Institute of America and Le Cordon Bleu. JWU’s multiple campuses and numerous programs make it an attractive destination for young cooks.

The university sets itself apart with its Careers Through Culinary Arts Program scholarships, commonly known as C-CAPs. Incoming students who participated in a C-CAP cooking competition and have at least a 1030 SAT or 22 ACT score can apply to this annual scholarship. As long as the student maintains a 2.75 GPA throughout their time at JWU, the financial stipends are renewable for four years.

And remember, most colleges/universities offer their own scholarships for students attending their institution. Be on the lookout for one at your school!


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