Culinary Scholarships

Culinary Arts Scholarships

Cooking scholarships and culinary school scholarships in 2013 are worth seeking out in order to help pay for the cost of attending culinary arts school.  Depending on the kind of institution you wish to attend and the degree of expertise you wish to reach, you may also qualify for college grants to help you pay for your culinary studies.

Regardless of which kind of culinary diploma you are pursuing, we recommend students to complete the FAFSA form in early January of the year in which they wish to study.  Check with the schools you wish to attend to obtain a code that you will need to enter on the FAFSA form. Each school you are thinking of attending will then receive your financial information.  That way if you are available for a Pell Grant or other college grants, the culinary school will be able to process your payments after you enroll.  Additionally, it is important to complete the FAFSA form to apply for any need-based scholarships.

Arizona Culinary Institute and L’Ecole Culinaire

If you eligible for Federal Financial Aid and are attending a short certification program at the Arizona Culinary Institute or L’Ecole Culinaire in St. Louis, your grant can help reduce the costs of paying for your culinary studies.

Look into the following culinary scholarships as well, to help make your culinary studies more affordable.  The Arizona Culinary Institute awards the Culinary Merit Scholarship and the Professional Culinary Scholarship.   The Culinary Merit Scholarship awards between $500 and $5,000 and requires an essay explaining your academic successes, culinary accomplishments, or culinary experiences that make you eligible for the culinary merit scholarship.  Since many culinary scholarships and general scholarships require an essay, it is a good idea to improve your scholarship essay-writing skills.  In addition to the essay, transcripts, letters of recommendation, and awards should  be sent as supporting documents to help you win the scholarship.  The Professional Culinary Scholarship is an award in the range of $100 to $2,000 and requires an essay to explain your successes, culinary career goals, and how attending the Arizona Culinary Institute will help you achieve your goals.  For more details contact the Arizona Culinary Institute at 480-603-1066 or

L’École Culinaire offers a diploma in Culinary Essentials as well as an Associate of Occupational Sciences degree in Culinary Arts and Culinary Management.  About 70 percent of the classroom experience is hands-on, thanks to the baking kitchen labs and the demonstration kitchen for students and teachers.  At L’École Culinaire, study is organized in “phases” of ten weeks, focusing on a particular skill-set during the entire ten-week phase.

L’École Culinaire has the Make-the-Grade Scholarship.  It is for high school graduates who enrolls at L’ºEcole Culinaire within one year of completing high school.  The scholarship is an incentive for good grades, providing tuition credits in the form of $25 in tuition for every semester grade of A and $20 for every semester grade of B, to a maximum credit of $1,000.  Contact the admissions department for a scholarship application.

L’École Culinaire also offers its students the Top-Student Scholarship.  Students must have a 95% or better attendance rating for the term, a term GPA of 3.0 or better, and an accumulative GPA of 2.5 or better.  For more details contact the Director of Education.

Community Colleges: A Less Expensive Way to Study Culinary Arts

Most community colleges offer associate degrees in the culinary arts for a fraction of the cost that students would spend at culinary institutes.  Students wishing to pursue a career in the culinary arts should not overlook their local technical college or community college.  When you attend a community college in the same state where you graduate from high school, you can also save additional money by paying in-state tuition.

By enrolling in culinary studies at a community college, it may also be easier to benefit from federal financial aid programs, the Pell Grant, and college grants issued by your state of residence.  We also recommend speaking with the offices of the community college’s cooking school and financial offices to find scholarship money that is awarded by the community college itself.

Women’s Chefs & Restaurants Scholarships

Women Chefs & Restaurants (WCR) awards several scholarships and internships each year.  Applications are accepted from January into late March and early April.  Culinary schools that are members of the WCR participate and receive the scholarship funds on behalf of the students, to help them pay for their studies.  Please contact (877) 927-7787 or e-mail for further details.

National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation

Students who wish to pursue a bachelor’s degree in the culinary arts or in a related area, should look into the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF)’s scholarships.  The NRAEF offers the largest number of scholarships in the food and beverage industry. These are merit-based culinary scholarships and begin at $2,500.

The state where you reside may also have its own restaurant association offering scholarships to qualified students. Look up the association for your state to see if you might qualify for a scholarship to help you pay for cooking school.

American Culinary Federation

The American Culinary Federation is another source of culinary scholarships. They work with the American Academy of Chefs. There are two different application forms, depending on whether the candidate is still in high school or already in college.

James Beard Foundation

The James Beard Foundation (JBF) has been offering culinary scholarships since 2006.  Each April, their website posts the information for the scholarship requirements for the need academic year. In addition to scholarships, they also award professional grants.

CCAP, ADA and CIA Culinary Scholarships

The Careers through Culinary Arts Program (CCAP) is another source to find has scholarships for cooking school.

The website of the American Dietetic Association (ADA),, also has information about scholarships for food and nutrition students.  Contact for more information.

Specific schools, such as the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) and Johnson & Wales University, award scholarships to qualified candidates every year.

Culinary Institute of America Scholarships

The Culinary Institute of America has three campuses: Hyde Park in the Hudson Valley of New York, San Antonio, Texas, and St. Helena, in the Napa Valley of California.  Only the Hyde Park campus offers Bachelor’s degrees, while all three campuses offer Associate degrees.

Culinary Instititute Scholarships include the Merit Scholarship Program, based on GPA, experience in the food service industry, previous college experience, extracurricular activities, level of course difficulties.  During your application process to CIA, make sure to gather all the relevant information to highlight these experiences, which may help you earn the Merit Scholarship.  You do not need to apply to the scholarship separately; eligible students automatically receive the scholarship with their acceptance to study at CIA.

Each enrolment period, the Culinary Institute also has two scholarships for inner-city students whose parents did not graduate from college.  The scholarship is renewable annually and requires a GPA of 3.0 or better.

The Culinary Institute also offers the SAT/ACT Achievement Scholarship to students.  Those with SAT scores of 1,200 or better or ACT scores of 27 or better will receive a $2,000 scholarship, while those with SAT scores of 1,000 or better or ACT scores of 22 or better will receive a $1,000 scholarship.

Culinary Guild of New England and Future Chefs Scholarships

The Culinary Guild of New England (CGNE) has partnered with Future Chefs, to provide a scholarship program to culinary arts students from the greater Boston area.  There are two types of awards each year: (1) The Culinary Guild of New England Scholarship Fund to help students purchase supplies and books at Bunker Hill Community College.  (2) The Culinary Guild of New England Student Award to help pay the tuition at Newbury College, in Brookline, MA.  For more details contact

Johnson & Wales University has campuses in the following locations: Providence, North Miami, Denver, and Charlotte.  Johnson & Wales University provides culinary students a liberal arts base plus the opportunity to build their skills in the culinary arts right from their first college term.  Students have the opportunity to work in real-life labs with instructors who are expert chefs.  Among the scholarships offered at Johnson & Wales are the transfer scholarships.  If you’ve completed at least 45 credit hours with at least a 3.0 GPA, you could be eligible for up to $3,000, renewable annually at Johnson & Wales University.

Some culinary scholarships require students to write an essay about their career plans.  We find that the following book may help students who are contemplating a career in the culinary arts: Culinary Careers: How to Get Your Dream Job in Food with Advice from Top Culinary Professionals

Since each culinary scholarship has a deadline, make sure to plan ahead during your search for culinary scholarships.   That way you won’t miss out on your chance to win the award.  When it comes to finding help to pay for culinary school, many culinary scholarships are available; cooking scholarships and grants come from so many sources, including: the schools, your home state, the federal government, private foundations, your parents’ employers, professional organizations, and faith-based organizations.