Culinary Scholarships Serve Up Varied Career Opportunities

You can find money for culinary school, where you can train for event planning, catering, or other jobs.

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Students in culinary school cooking
Students in culinary school cooking

With enrollment on the rise at culinary schools, the temperature isn't the only thing heating up the kitchen! Over the past five years, culinary degree programs have nearly doubled, from 250 to more than 400 programs in the United States.

And don't be fooled: A degree from culinary school is not limited to cooking. Culinary school can train you for an assortment of careers, ranging from restaurant and hotel management to catering and event planning. If you love to chop, slice, and dice, and are looking to earn a culinary degree without breaking the bank, don't miss the menu of culinary scholarships we're serving up below.

Women Chefs and Restaurateurs is a national organization devoted to the growth, enhancement, and support of women in the culinary industry. Its unique scholarships spice things up by including international travel, culinary school opportunities, wine studies, and internships in member restaurants. Scholarships open up every January and are awarded every spring; check out its website for more information.

[One MBA program offers a concentration in wine business.]

Wherever you reside, there's more than likely an opportunity just for you. For Texans who are passionate about keeping the legend of Tex-Mex and barbeque alive, check out the W. Price Jr. Scholarship, specifically for Texas culinary students. Each year the Texas Restaurant Association awards the scholarship to students with a growing passion for the food-service industry. Two scholarships worth $5,000 each are awarded to students attending a four-year university or a culinary college, and two $2,000 scholarships are awarded to students attending a two-year college.

For those of you from the Midwest, the Illinois Restaurant Association's Educational Foundation offers several opportunities ranging from baking scholarships to hospitality management scholarships. Also, Wisconsin is offering a sweet treat: a scholarship exclusively for students studying the art of baking and pastries. The Wisconsin Bakers Association encourages careers in baking and has awarded more than $25,000 in scholarships since its founding in 1980!

[Get more advice on how to pay for college.]

Culinary careers aren't limited to the kitchen. Entrepreneurial spirits are perfect for the Al Schuman Eco-Lab Freshman Entrepreneurial Scholarship, established to award freshman students who are seeking careers in the restaurant and food-service industry and who demonstrate an entrepreneurial spirit. Apply before July 25 for your chance at a $3,000 to $5,000 scholarship.

Finally, for onsite food-service careers, look no further than the SFM Foundation (Society for Foodservice Management), which continues to award scholarships to deserving students to help them pursue their careers. This year's deadline passed in May, but make sure you check back next year for your chance to apply.

No matter where your passion for food lies, there are plenty of culinary scholarships out there for you. From cooking in the kitchen to owning your own food business, these scholarships can help you pay for your education and open the path to a successful culinary career. 

Emily Payzant interned at Scholarship America in 2012. She attends Creighton University in Omaha, Neb., and is majoring in economics and marketing.