WebstaurantStore Foodservice and Hospitality Scholarship

Fueling a Passion For Achievement in Culinary Arts

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What is the Scholarship?

The WebstaurantStore Foodservice and Hospitality Scholarship is a $1,500 grant created to assist students with an eagerness to further their culinary education. By awarding this supplemental grant, we hope to fuel the passion of one bright student as they pursue their dream of becoming a chef, restaurant owner, or hospitality professional.

2019 Scholarship Winners

Rosa A.

Culinary Arts

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Past Winners

Adrienne B.

Baking and Pastry Management

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Heidi W.

Culinary Arts

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Nina D.

Culinary Arts

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Ladarius P.

Hospitality/Tourism Management

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Nikki S.

Hospitality/Tourism Management

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2019 Scholarship Winning Essay

By Rosa Acevedo

Dear Donor,

When I was around eight years old, I began to take interest in activities done within the kitchen. I remember vividly the joy I would get from being able to help my mother with small kitchen tasks. At first she only allowed me to organize the items we brought home from grocery shopping or wash the vegetables she needed for a meal along with some cookware. As I grew a little older I was allowed to do more and meal after meal my mother fed my interest in the art of cooking. My favorite memories are those when I would stand next to my mother as she cooked and she would explain her recipes step by step. The idea of me understanding each step of her recipes was so important to her, she used to say: "pay attention because someday you will need to cook for yourself".

I like to think of my family as an entrepreneur family. Back in Venezuela, my father owned a machine shop and my mother a food truck. They managed to build a schedule around the family meaning my mom was home during the day and my father at night taking care of my siblings and I while my mom worked at the food truck. On weekends the whole family was immersed in the food truck. Everybody had their assigned chore and we knew what we each had to do to help run the food truck. My siblings and I were tasked with carrying all of the supplies my mother needed for the weekend operation. In a line my siblings and I would carry over the napkins, plates, bottles of water, and bags needed. Since I am the oldest sibling, my mom would let me take care of small orders from time to time. It's from there my passion for the operational side of cooking started. As an adult, I took a chance and sold empanadas at high-traffic areas within my neighborhood to test if I could bring some of my passions to reality. Surprisingly enough, after many attempts and many weekends people have come to love my empanadas!

I have now built a family of my own and with close relatives, Thanksgiving has become a day I hold dear to my heart. We have built a tradition where we all come together regardless of distance and busy schedules. I have the privileged of cooking the center piece of the night, the turkey, along with any new side dish I want to showcase. Every year I surprise them with a new recipe. It brings great joy to see how all of my family gets together and shares happy memories with each other around the table, to me it is like magic. Through my passion for cooking and the process behind it I get to see the great power that food has on people. I like to argue that in a time of so many differences, food is the one factor that has no borders nor language. Food is capable of creating infinite moments of joy, keep traditions alive and keep family and friends united.

I have always had the dream to become a restaurant owner much like my mom, but in order to achieve my goal I believe it is necessary to obtain formal instruction. By learning from those that are at the forefront of the profession I feel will complement the commitment I have to learning all of the skills needed to thrive in a successful business. By learning knives skills, how to operate professional kitchen equipment and tools, food safety regulations, food costs, menu planning and more will ensure a better outcome. By owning and operating a restaurant, I hope to provide financial stability and security to my own family like my mother and father did to ours. I will be creating job opportunities within my community. As importantly, I want to be a role model to all women who want to change their life around but fear it is too late in their lives to pursue a different yet successful career that will bring them a better sense of fulfillment. I want to be an inspiration to my son, when he looks back at his childhood I want him to be proud of the leap of faith I took on myself. Lastly, I want to bring knowledge to all people about my culture and traditions and I believe that the best way to do so is by food. Venezuelan cuisine is a mixture of European, African and indigenous traditions. Our food staples include corn, rice, plantain, beans, yams and several meals. The Venezuelan arepas, empanadas, tequenos , tostones and hallacas are some of the most popular delicatessen from my country.

Given the opportunity to be awarded with the Culinary Arts Scholarship, I will be granted with the greatest sense of reassurance that alongside with putting much forth-effort and dedication I will be able to successfully complete the culinary program at International Culinary Center . Being awarded with the scholarship will also allow me to devote myself into preparing for the opportunity to open a restaurant of my own.

I want to give my most sincere thanks to all whom may read this essay and for giving me the opportunity to achieve my greatest goal.

Sincerely,
Rosa Acevedo

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2018 Scholarship Winning Essay

By Adrienne B.

To whom it may concern,

Everyone has their hobby that makes them euphoric. For some it may be climbing a mountain and for others it is flying an airplane; for me it is baking with innovation. My culinary journey started just at the age of twelve when I decided to put my skills to the test in a baking competition. After baking as best I could, first, second, and third place were called off. I remember thinking not to get my hopes up, as I was competing against people three times my age. As they called off second place, my heart became ecstatic as they announced my name. This is one of the most notable milestones in my life, but it was just the beginning. Throughout high school I took every culinary course our school had to offer. While gaining that experience, I had obtained five certificates: Prostart Year One, Prostart Year Two, ServSafe Manager, ServSafe Allergens, and ServSafe Alcohol. I have also been competing through FCCLA and Skills USA to gain more experience. Not only did I gain experience through school, but I extended my ability to the workforce in several ways. Having catered at several events, working in a deli at a supermarket, and baking pastries for a coffee shop, I have defined my competence and baking intellect in the workforce.

Ever since then, I have wanted to own a pastry business of my own. I plan to bring in fresh ideas and hot spots for people to enjoy. Specifically, I propose to create a dessert restaurant. This would allow people to stop by after having dinner and enjoy a sweet treat, or satisfy those midnight cravings. Dessert restaurants will revolutionize the culinary industry, and my ingenuity and ambition will allow me to accomplish this. I plan to attend Waukesha Technical College for an associates degree in Baking and Pastry Management in the fall. With this scholarship, I would be greatly empowered to achieve my life long goal: opening my own dessert restaurant. I hope you consider my desire to be successful in this industry, and I appreciate your time to review my application.

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2017 Scholarship Winning Essay

By Heidi W.

Dear Gracious Donor,

I am a fulltime student enrolled at Northwestern Michigan College at the Great Lakes Culinary Institute. Educationally, it is my plan to complete my associate of applied science degree in culinary arts and continue my educational studies at Ferris State University through the University Center, pursuing a bachelor's degree in hospitality management, as well as, a bachelor's degree in agricultural management and plant science through Michigan State University.

For the past ten years, I have devoted my life to agriculture and the art of planting, cultivating and harvesting the finest quality produce that you can find in the market today. I have proudly been a part of a farm in which I have worked tirelessly to absorb and learn every facet of the business. During peak season, I manage approximately 200 employees and the business in its entirety. I have a passion for agriculture and creating true farm-to-table cuisine utilizing the ingredients that I am able to grow and harvest myself. Due to my love for agriculture, food, creating products that reflect my passion, and coupled with my devotion to providing unparalleled service to those who support our local businesses, I have decided that in order to be able to accomplish my goals, it is imperative that I have a formal education to ensure that I have the proper skill set required to operate a thriving and successful business of my own. I have made it my mission to learn and absorb as much as I can from the culinary and business leaders that I have been fortunate enough to work with. By learning from those that are at the forefront of their professions, I have and will continue to learn their skills, techniques, and ideas and pair them with my own skills, experience, and vision to create something truly unique of my own. Over the course of the last five years, I have been working on a business plan that I will bring to fruition after graduation. I have worked with professionals throughout the planning process in order to have a solid plan in place and be able to properly execute it when finished with my schooling. I am a goal oriented, hardworking, and driven single mother. When I look at my son and all the promise and hope that he holds, it motivates me to work harder and more feverishly than ever before to accomplish the goals that I have set before myself in order to ensure that we both have a bright and successful future. It is my goal to be able to support myself and my child, do something that I have a passion for and enjoy, and to be the rock solid, driving force that makes it all happen.

In my free time, I enjoy spending time with family, all things outdoors, and devote as much of my free time as I am able, to learning more about the things that I have a passion for in life. I am an avid backpacker and kayaker and have devoted many hours to nature and volunteering with different conservation groups whose efforts support maintaining and protecting some of the most beautiful places nature has to offer. I have devoted many weeks to working with the Continental Divide Trail Coalition in preserving and building trails along parts of the Continental Divide throughout the state of Colorado. I have volunteered through my church in promoting healthy living by teaching cooking classes. I volunteer with school aged children's groups that have focused their efforts on teaching children the value of healthy eating and have introduced horticultural programs into their curriculum. And last but certainly not least, whenever the opportunity presents itself, I volunteer at the Great Lakes Culinary Institute for many of the events held at Lobdell's, such as the Harvest Dinner, Great Lakes - Great Chefs, and the World Cuisine dinner. Whether work, play, or somewhere in between, I always say, "if something is worth doing, it's worth doing well." I live by those words and strive to be the very best at whatever it is that I do, at all times.

With the help of a scholarship, I will be able to stay in school, set goals, achieve them, and not have the aching worry of all the financial burdens that come along with life while attending school or the misfortune of having to terminate my schooling due to financial issues. If awarded the opportunity of a scholarship, I will utilize every penny to secure a bright and successful future for myself and my son, as well as, make sure that I donate and give back to the program when I am finished, in order make a difference in someone else's life. I would like to say, "Thank You" to all that review my application for your time and consideration. It has been nothing short of an honor and great pleasure to be part of NMC and to work alongside and learn from some of the most wonderful instructors that I have ever had the opportunity to meet. I am forever grateful.

With gratitude,
Heidi W.

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2017 Scholarship Winning Essay

By Nina D.

When asked as to why I enrolled in culinary school, the simple answer is... because I love the way people smile when they taste something I have created and it just makes their day. As in life, there is no limit in the culinary arts as to how much you can learn and improve. One chef can spend their whole life perfecting a particular cuisine and then pass on that knowledge to the next generation for them to further even more. From farm to table to family, every element is so important to understand and by going to culinary school, I will be able to learn from and be surrounded by people who share my love and passion for culinary and pastry arts.

I have always had a love for baking, but it was because of the support of my homeschool- teacher parents that I was able to turn that love into a business. When I was twelve, I opened my own bakery, and became ServSafe certified. At 14, I became the only owner of an in-home certified bakery in the State of Indiana and still am to this day. I have successfully managed "Nina's Belicious Bakery" for over five years now and it has been the best learning experience I could have ever asked for. Along the way, I've made thousands of cupcakes, many wedding cakes, assisted with catered events for our church where I had to bake for anywhere between 1000 to 1500 people on multiple occasions, and still love it as much as the day I started.

Once I am done with school, I plan to either further expand my bakery business or take another path and work as a wedding cake designer. Whatever happens, I do know that I plan to use everything I learn in culinary school to bring joy to the lives of others. That's one of the reasons I plan to volunteer for at least six-months in the kitchen and bakery at NPH orphanage in the Dominican Republic (as I have on three previous shorter mission trips.) I have been given so much, and would love nothing more than to be able to share that with those in need. Growing up, owning a business, and working towards culinary school has been quite the journey, with plenty of hurdles, roadblocks and speed bumps along the way. However, they all helped form me into who I am today.

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2016 Scholarship Winning Essay

By Ladarius P.

From sophomore year of high school to senior year of college, I gave dedication and commitment working for Chick-Fil-A as a busser, dishwasher, and server for six years. Working for this particular company really taught me what the true meaning of service really is, and helped me develop a genuine love and passion for hospitality. While in college, hospitality convinced me to change my major from Accounting to Hospitality Administration. During my senior year of college, I served as an Administrative Assistant in the department of Georgia State University's Cecil B. Day School of Hospitality Administration office for one year. I was able to act as a liaison, and greeter between students, and also provide general administrative support for students, faculty, and staff. As a liaison to college students, I thought this position was the perfect way to enrich college students to enjoy learning and growing in the hospitality industry.

Upon graduation, I wanted to gain ample knowledge in the hospitality industry. That became true once I was accepted into Walt Disney World's Disney College Program. I accepted a position as a Front Desk Agent at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort. After working for the Walt Disney Company, opportunities became endless. I created so many relationships with so many people from all over the world. I immensely learned and grew so much within myself not only professionally, but personally as well. It also led me to a position at the Ritz Carlton Atlanta hotel as a Lobby Concierge, which is my current employer. This position has to be, by far, the most difficult job I have had, but the most rewarding. The Ritz Carlton Company is the epitome of first-class service, leadership, and teamwork, and I could not be more grateful to work for such an amazing company. Being a part of this brand has convinced me to invest in the most relevant education possible in order to enhance my leadership development in the hospitality industry.

Investing more in my education will also be a great way to learn the modern standards and practice of the management industry in hospitality. I am currently in the process of attending graduate school and pursuing my Masters' Degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management at University of Central Florida. Afterwards, I would like to pursue a career in either airline or cruise line management for approximately three years. Afterwards, I would love to further my education by pursing my Ph.D. in Hospitality Management. My long term goal is to have my very own hospitality school at an amazing university, and become either its founder or director. Looking at college students going after what I did to successfully thrive in the hospitality industry would be the most incredible thing to encounter. My dream has always been to combine student affairs and hospitality into one career, and I believe that it is a goal that I am able to achieve by working hard, gaining more knowledge about the industry, planning strategically, and exemplifying persistence.

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Hospitality Brings the World Together

By Nikki S.

Ever since I can remember, I wanted to travel the world. I have an ever-growing infatuation with all of the places and all of the cultures that surround us, and it has been my goal since childhood to learn and experience more.

Growing up, I thought the best way to do that would be through journalism. I was going to follow the footsteps of Christiane Amanpour and travel around the world to find the best story angles. However, about halfway through my first semester at Virginia Tech, I realized that might not be the best way. A few months later, I changed my major to Hospitality and Tourism Management.

After taking one introductory class in hospitality, I realized that this is the base of all cross-culture relationships. Without hospitality, travel would not exist. Hotels, restaurants and visitor centers make it possible for us to see life through one another's eyes and to be immersed into one another's cultures. They make it possible to not only travel from continent to continent by plane, but to walk down the street and end up in Italy just by walking through the doors of an authentically-themed restaurant.

I am inspired by the strong culture in international restaurants. From the authentic food served, to the culturally appropriate decorations, I find that restaurants, both chain and family-owned, do a wonderful job of transporting their customers to a different place and time while they enjoy their food and service.

Through my future career in hospitality, I hope to draw on my own international experiences to create culturally immersive settings for other travelers and diners. This could be done in both restaurants and hotels, transforming otherwise ordinary occurrences into cultural experiences, through decorations, employee training and an overall commitment to authenticity.

It is my belief that we truly are a global community, and that food and a place to lay one's head are at the heart of it. Cultural understanding and acceptance can be gained through individual and commercial hospitality. It is my hope to one day contribute to that hospitality, and to make any visitor, foreign or local, feel welcome.

Who is Eligible?

This scholarship is open to all students, regardless of race, gender, age, or background. Eligibility is dependent on current or future enrollment in a Culinary Arts or Hospitality Management program (including Culinary Schools). This includes high school seniors, GED students, and non-traditional learning students who plan to enroll in similar programs at the start of the next year.

How to Apply?

Submit your application by filling out the form below. You will need to include your name, e-mail address, phone number, name of school you attend or will be attending and major. Attach a 500 word essay attachment (in .doc or .pdf format) that describes how you became interested in a Culinary Arts or Hospitality career and what you hope to bring to the industry.

Scholarship Application