December 21, 2020

Think You Can’t Afford to Attend Culinary School? Think Again.

When we surveyed prospective culinary students and asked them, “What could stop you from pursuing your culinary dreams?” the top answer we received was, “paying for school.” 1

The good news is that there are plenty of culinary school scholarships and other funding options available to those who qualify—if you know where to look for them.

Perhaps you’re at the beginning of your career journey and realizing that the traditional college path isn’t for you.

Or maybe you’re faced with an unexpected career shift because of changes in your current industry.
Maybe you’re an empty-nester, and you’re ready to pursue a new challenge.

Our financial aid advisors are here to answer your financing questions in the most complete and transparent way, and help you craft a financing plan that makes sense for your specific situation.

But first, let’s cover the top three scholarship programs for culinary students.

Here Are the Top Three Culinary School Scholarship Opportunities:

Chef adding microgreens to a plate

James Beard Foundation Scholarships

If you’ve followed food culture even casually over the years, you’ll know James Beard and the legacy he left in the culinary arts. Since its founding in 1991, the foundation has awarded over $8 million in culinary school scholarships and other financial aid to 2000 students and counting. They do this through three avenues:

  1. Friends of James Beard: Cash grants applied directly to tuition and related school expenses.
  2. James Beard School Scholarships: Tuition waivers granted by culinary schools.
  3. Grants for working culinary professionals: Financial assistance for people working in the culinary industry to further their education through experiential learning at farms, fisheries, wineries, and other food production venues.

The James Beard scholarships reopen for applications in April 2021, with awards granted in August.

A baker in her bakery

National Restaurant Association Education Foundation Scholarships

Founded in 1987, this association is a champion for people from all walks of life wanting to build career-ready skills in the restaurant and food services industry. Over the years they’ve given $23 million in financial aid to youth and adults at all stages of their career while helping to build a robust hospitality industry in America.

These include:

  • ProStart® for Students: Geared towards high school students who want to get a jumpstart on their career in the restaurant and food services industry.
  • ProStart® for Educators: Designed to enhance industry knowledge for people teaching in the culinary arts.
  • Applications for their scholarship open January 15, 2021 and close March 15, 2021. Award notifications are sent in July.

We can help guide you through other financing options for your culinary career.

Chef plating a dish

American Culinary Federation Education Foundation Scholarships

The American Culinary Federation (ACF) is a major force in the hospitality industry, and is credited with elevating the status of chefs in the United States, from that of a lower-level service to a well-regarded profession. ACF’s high standards of training have – rightfully – earned them a reputation as a key ingredient in the culinary arts world. And they’re the largest professional chefs organization in North America.

That’s great news for students because it’s their goal to promote American cuisine – and all of the professionals in the industry who support its growth and success. Their culinary school scholarships help thousands of up-and-coming professionals in the hospitality industry get the best education possible.

You might qualify for one of their scholarships…and let’s find out if you qualify for other financing options!

Now It Is Up To You!

A recent survey indicates that you’ll change careers an average of seven times before you retire. Some of those changes will be by choice, others because of changes in the job market. Some of them will be lateral moves within your industry, others will be a complete departure from your original path.

Whether you’re considering…

  • what to do after graduating high school
  • what to do when you’re downsized out of your current job
  • how your future will look like now that you have the freedom to pursue a hobby and turn it into a fulfilling career

…don’t let finances get in the way.

There are so many options for financial support for those who qualify – including culinary school scholarships – and so many opportunities for people willing to take that leap and get the education they need to be successful.

We’re here to help you find the right path to your career in the culinary arts. We’d love to help you on your culinary journey, so contact us!

More articles on financing your education:

This article was originally published on June 5, 2017, but has since been updated.

Escoffier Quiz, November 2020