US Foods Scholars program
We proudly support programs that help underserved youth reach their culinary dreams. That’s why in August 2017, we launched our US Foods® Scholars program.
US Foods Scholars awards financial support and professional development opportunities to students who plan to pursue an education in the culinary arts and enter the restaurant industry. We work with our partners, the Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP) and the American Culinary Federation (ACF), to identify deserving students who have demonstrated outstanding potential and achievement in the culinary arts, and require additional resources to take the next step on their culinary journey. The program aims to inspire students to reach their full potential and contribute a meaningful solution to the talent shortage facing the restaurant industry.
US Foods Scholars began in Chicago and Arizona, and has since expanded to seven additional markets – Atlanta, Austin, Daytona Beach, Birmingham, New York City, Portland and Raleigh.
2021 US FOODS SCHOLARS
Abbi Sanchez is a culinary arts student at Linn Benton Community College in Portland, Oregon.
Abbi has been cooking since she was a teenager. Her interest in working in the culinary industry stems from watching movies involving chefs and food. Her culinary inspirations are her aunt, who follows a gluten-free, dairy-free and sugar-free diet, and knows how to cook and bake at a professional chef level, as well as Julia Child.
Being a US Foods® Scholar will allow Abbi to learn how to cook professionally using local and in-season ingredients. Eventually, she wants to become a restaurant owner who sources her own ingredients from a farm she also owns.
Fun Facts about Abbi
Favorite dish to prepare: “My favorite dish to prepare is Thanksgiving dinner with my grandma’s stuffing and my aunt’s cranberry sauce recipe. Last year, my aunt and I cooked our Thanksgiving dinner together over Zoom, and it was a great experience.”
Favorite food: “My favorite food to use is ice cream, especially garden mint.”
What it means to be a US Foods Scholar: “It represents an incredible opportunity for me, opening new doors and providing a whole different life in the culinary realm. With this scholarship, I have the chance to jump on chasing my dreams and make them a reality.”
Alec Lockridge is a food business management student at Lawson State Community College in Birmingham, Alabama.
Growing up, Alec learned how to cook from his mom. He has been working in the restaurant business since he was 15, and has always admired the role of head chef. The idea of owning his own restaurant and serving people handcrafted plates of joy is what keeps the flame alive in him, and not just on the stove tops.
As a US Foods® Scholar, Alec is looking forward to expanding his culinary knowledge and skills. He hopes this program can help push him to be the best chef in Alabama. He also aspires to own and operate a restaurant in either Atlanta or New York, that serves one-of-a-kind foods with unbeatable flavors.
Fun Facts about Alec
First self-prepared dish: “The first dish I vividly learned to prepare and thought, ‘wow, this is good,’ would be Bang Bang Shrimp. Anytime I cook with seafood, I have more fun in the kitchen.”
Favorite ingredient to use: “Cayenne pepper or jalapeños. The flavor that can be accomplished with properly used peppers can knock a dish right out of the park.”
What it means to be a US Foods Scholar: “I have a duty to give 100% effort for everything I do, especially at Lawson State. It means I have to be ready to bring my work home and continue to hone my craft, even when not being watched or graded. This means turning in assignments on time and making sure my grades are the best they can possibly be. It also means focusing on my studies and continuing to be the greatest possible chef I can be. I am so excited to be a US Foods Scholar and cannot wait to further understand what being a part of this program means.”
Hyde Park, New York
Anthony Trabasas is a first-year culinary arts student at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York.
Anthony grew up in Bacolod City, Philippines, and moved to New York City several years ago. His interest in food started when he traveled with his friend and family to try foods in and around his home country. Being exposed to this exciting culinary scene ignited his desire to learn everything about food and the world around it.
As a US Foods® Scholar, Anthony is excited to absorb as much as he can, from making new connections with his fellow scholars to learning from top leaders in the food field. He looks forward to tapping into the network that US Foods offers young, upcoming professionals.
Fun Facts about Anthony
Favorite dish to prepare: “I love creating a good sandwich. It’s a well-balanced and nutritious vessel for all types of flavors and textures. Coincidentally, I remember that one of the first dishes that I made was a simple tuna-mayo sandwich.”
Favorite ingredient to use: “Tomatoes! Besides their flavor, I love how versatile they are to cook with.”
What it means to be a US Foods Scholar: “This opportunity allows me to have the means to continue to explore what I love to explore: food. Not only does being a US Foods Scholar help me reach my goals faster, but it inspires me even more to continue giving back to my community.”
Ashleigh has been cooking for as long as she can remember. After graduating from college, she spent three years traveling the world and noticed one thing that brings people from all walks of life together –food. Ashleigh’s goal is to teach culinary skills to others, and her dream is to have her own establishment.
Ashleigh is beyond grateful to become a US Foods Scholar. This opportunity will allow her to be financially independent while she is in school.
Fun Facts about Ashleigh
Favorite dish to prepare: “A stir fry, because the possibilities are endless with the vegetables you can use and the different sauces you can create.”
Most memorable kitchen moment: “It was in Uganda in 2019, when I worked in a kitchen as a recipe developer and learned local cuisine from the Achole people.”
What it means to be a US Foods Scholar: “It means freedom to pursue my dreams.”
Raleigh, North Carolina
Briana Headen is a baking and pastry arts student at Wake Technical Community College in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Briana always knew she wanted to be in the hospitality industry, as she always found herself intrigued by ways to cater to people and loves seeing them enjoying themselves. She currently works as a pastry cook for Herons at The Umstead Hotel, and considers pastry chef Candace Nelson her baking inspiration.
As a US Foods® Scholar, Briana is looking forward to the people she will be able to connect with, and where this opportunity will take her by exposing her to new things. She is also very excited about her official US Foods Scholars chef coat.
Fun Facts about Briana
Favorite dish to bake: “Cupcakes! I love how personal they are, and that they're just the right serving size. Cupcakes are also the first sweet I baked on my own. I made red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese icing. I got the recipe from my grandmother, and it is still a recipe that I use today.”
Favorite ingredient to use: “Butter. It is such a staple ingredient, but enhances a dish in various ways.”
What it means to be a US Foods Scholar: “It means I am able to fulfill my goal of obtaining my baking and pastry arts degree with no debt for school. It also is reassurance that I am on the right path for myself. It means that I am taking steps towards my goals.”
Christina Crossland is a culinary arts student at the Art Institute of Atlanta in Atlanta, Georgia.
Christina began cooking at the age of 10. Her interest in food expanded as she began to grow bored of eating the same simple meals. Before the financial crisis in 2008, her parents owned a small fast-food restaurant, where she spent most of her youth. She enjoyed interacting with customers and watching her mom run the entire operation. It inspired her to dream of having her own restaurant.
Christina is looking forward to being as US Foods® Scholar. She hopes to gain more opportunities and mentorship to guide her on her journey in the culinary industry.
Fun Facts about Christina
First self-prepared dish: “A vegetable omelet.”
Career goal: “I plan to go into the restaurant industry, dominate the fast-food sector, and change the dynamic of the restaurant food chain.”
What it means to be a US Foods Scholar: “This amazing opportunity means the world to me. Receiving the scholarship relieved the financial burden of student loans. I am now able to fully focus on my studies. This is also a confirmation that I am on the right path in my career.”
Imani Bonner is a culinary arts student at Lawson State Community College in Birmingham, Alabama.
Imani’s interest in culinary arts started when she was young. As a child, she would enjoy cooking with her mom and great-grandma in the kitchen. Once she got into high school, she started making baked goods for her friends and loved seeing them enjoy her food.
As a US Foods® Scholar, Imani is looking forward to learning about cuisines in other countries. Her career goal is to first own a food truck, then open her own café or bakery.
Fun Facts about Imani
Favorite dish to prepare: “French toast with baked apples and a bacon caramel sauce.”
Her cooking idols: “Gordon Ramsay, Yolanda Gampp and Natalie Sideserf.”
What it means to be a US Foods Scholar: “It means I don't have to worry so much about the finances of going through college, and I just have to focus on my schoolwork and studies.”
Daytona Beach, Florida
Jabreya Gilbert is a hospitality student with a concentration in events and entertainment at Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach, Florida.
Her culinary and hospitality journey began when she was only 8 years old. She noticed the decorations and setups her mother prepared when their family had company over. As she got older, Jabreya realized that the focus of gatherings isn’t the main event – it’s the hospitality and effort that makes the customer want to come back.
Being a US Foods® Scholar will allow Jabreya to use the opportunities presented to her as a passageway to teaching others how they can achieve their hospitality goals. She wants to instill hope in people to keep their faith that things will work out, which goes in tandem with hard work and dedication.
Fun Facts about Jabreya
Favorite dish to prepare: “A grilled Atlantic salmon over a bed of wild rice, accompanied by asparagus.”
Her career goal: “I want to open and operate my own restaurant, and aspire to become a well-known and highly respected event coordinator.”
What it means to be a US Foods Scholar: “It means a multitude of things. Being a US Foods Scholar puts me into an elite category that helps spotlight those who are excelling in what they do. It means that I get to uphold the core values of US Foods and intertwine them with my own. It also means that I have an opportunity to grow beyond my wildest dreams.”
Raleigh, North Carolina
Keturah Wicks is a hospitality management student at Wake Tech Community College, in Raleigh, North Carolina.
From a young age, Keturah has known that hospitality management is the industry for her. She’s strived to give the best service in her work assignments and always wants customers to remember her as the “nice lady” or the one who smiles all the time.
Being a US Foods® Scholar will allow Keturah to pursue her dreams of owning franchises that train and develop people in the hospitality industry to be the best in their field. Managing and training others is a passion of hers, and she hopes to provide career-minded individuals with training and knowledge they can use to succeed.
Fun Facts About Keturah
Favorite dish to prepare: “My favorite dish to prepare is the classic spaghetti. I love trying different noodles to pair the meat and sauce with, and I enjoy adding flavor to my sauce and spicing up the meat to give it the most Italian flavor possible.”
Most useful piece of information she’s learned: “The world revolves around the hospitality industry. From gas stations to restaurants, people who work in this industry are everywhere. And to succeed in this business, you have to be selfless and empathetic.”
What it means to be a US Foods Scholar: “It means the world to me and gives me an added purpose in life. The program is a resource and another example of success that I can add next to my name. I’m humbled and tremendously honored to be chosen as a scholar.”
Mitchell Starks is a culinary arts student at International Culinary School at the Art Institute of Atlanta in Atlanta, Georgia.
Mitchell’s interest in culinary arts began at home with his family – someone was always in the kitchen, and it was a social event for him when meals were being prepared. As a high school student, he participated in the Art Institute of Atlanta’s program for juniors and seniors called “College Bound at the Art Institute of Atlanta,” which allowed him to take several culinary classes and helped him realize his dream of becoming a chef.
Being a US Foods® Scholar will open culinary doors for Mitchell, allowing him to pursue his dream of finishing culinary school, studying under talented chefs in the industry, and hopefully someday having his own signature dish at a restaurant that will amaze customers and keep them coming back again and again.
Fun Facts About Mitchell
Favorite ingredient to use: “I love to cook with fresh herbs – rosemary, thyme, basil, oregano – they add that extra level of flavor to any dish.”
His cooking idols: “Two of my favorite chefs are Bobby Flay and Guy Fieri. Both are intelligent, creative and really seem to enjoy their chosen profession. I also admire Chef Lewis and Chef Holton at the International Culinary School at the Art Institute of Atlanta, two of my instructors, for their patience and encouragement every week in kitchen lab and for the excitement they create when sharing amazing dishes with all the students.”
What it means to be a US Foods Scholar: “It’s a huge honor to be selected and gives me inspiration to study harder in school and learn all that I can. It says to me, US Foods thinks I have potential and believes in me. I look forward to the opportunity to receive culinary knowledge and great experiences from experts in the field, and I appreciate US Foods’ “Launch Your Career, Live Your Dream” motto.
Phil Varney is a culinary arts student at Austin Community College in Austin, Texas.
Phil, originally from Bristol, England, has a passion for food and serving others. He has always found great joy in providing hospitality for groups of friends and family. Phil also has a long professional history in the hospitality industry – from holding various hotel positions throughout high school, to catering events, to now being a prep and line cook. As a “Brit” who moved to the United States, he had to learn all about American food traditions.
As a US Foods® Scholar, Phil is looking forward to taking this opportunity to expand his professional network and learn as much as he can in different areas of the industry.
Fun Facts about Phil
Favorite dish to prepare: “Sticking to the theme of Italian – which is my favorite cuisine – my favorite dish to prepare would be homemade pizzas. I love the process of making the dough and getting creative with toppings.”
Favorite food: “Pasta. I love it in all shapes and sizes. I pride myself on the quality of my pasta sauces and unique dish creations.”
What it means to be a US Foods Scholar: “Along with the significant financial support, it is a huge confidence boost to receive recognition from such a large, industry-leading foodservice distributor. I’m extremely proud to have been selected as a US Foods Scholar, and to know that all of my hard work is paying off!”
Sarah Turner is a baking and pastry arts student at Austin Community College in Austin, Texas.
Sarah grew up in a household that loves to bake and cook, so she has been cooking for as long as she can remember. Her interest in culinary arts originated from watching her mom and grandmother bake and cook. Shrimp is her favorite ingredient to cook with, not only because she enjoys eating it, but also because there are many ways to prepare it.
As a US Foods® Scholar, Sarah is most excited about being able to network with people.
Fun Facts about Sarah
Favorite dish to prepare: “Creamy Chicken Penne Pasta. It is quite simple, and I’ve made it many times for family dinners.”
Her career goal: “Open my own bakery or café where I serve pastries, sandwiches and drinks. Before I create this café, I would like to travel around Europe and learn how to make authentic pastries and breads.”
What it means to be a US Foods Scholar: “It means that all the hard work I’ve put into my academics has been recognized. This also means I will have the opportunity to travel and learn more than I would have ever dreamed of.”
Sheanejah Crabbe is a hospitality and tourism management student at Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach, Florida.
Sheanejah has been cooking for more than 12 years. Her father and his vegan cuisine restaurant inspired her to pursue a career in culinary arts. Her goals are to be the first U.S. Virgin Islander to become a general manager of a hotel and own a Caribbean restaurant.
As a US Foods® Scholar, Sheanejah is looking forward to learning new things and bringing her own creativity to life. She enjoys making phenomenal dishes that suit her guests’ and customers’ palates.
Fun Facts about Sheanejah
Favorite dish to prepare: “Jerk Bake BBQ Tofu, because that is one of my vegetarian specialties.”
Her cooking idols: “Bobby Flay, Giada De Laurentiis and Rachael Ray.”
What it means to be a US Foods Scholar: “It means that I was willing to fight for all I desire and not only just about academics. I have worked beyond my comfort zone to seek out resources and solutions that others would never try to find.”
Chayil Hyland is a hospitality management student at Cornell University in New York.
Chayil’s love for hospitality began when he worked as a server at his high school’s first-ever student-run pop-up. He enjoyed helping others and giving them unforgettable experiences. Chayil’s cooking idol is Alton Brown, and he has learned so much just from watching Alton’s show, Good Eats.
As a US Foods® Scholar, Chayil is looking forward to learning how to better provide for foodservice workers, noting that he’d love to change the way people treat those in the foodservice industry, and to see more people of color in higher positions. He is also interested in sustainability, and hopes to one day open a bakery or café to serve food that reminds him of his childhood.
Fun Facts about Chayil
Favorite dish to prepare: “A Lemon Ciambellone – an Italian pound-like cake prepared with ricotta and finished with a lemon glaze.”
Favorite ingredient to cook with: “I love to cook with lemons. They can bring out the flavors in any dish, and even a little bit of zest goes a long way.”
What it means to be a US Foods Scholar: “Being a US Foods Scholar is a reminder to me that I worked hard to get where I am, and I must continue to work hard and never lose sight of my goals.”
Lake Havasu, Arizona
Haylee Michaud is a high school student at Lake Havasu High School in Arizona. She is currently looking into different culinary schools and intends to pursue a major in the culinary arts.
Haylee’s father was a cook, so it was no surprise when she found a love for cooking in a culinary program at her high school. At home, she enjoys helping her father in the kitchen, as well as baking with her grandpa.
As a US Foods® Scholar, Haylee is looking forward to learning about plant-based cuisine and the different dishes that can be made. She also wants to show people that vegan foods are just as delicious as non-vegan foods.
Fun Facts about Haylee
Favorite dish to prepare: “A vegan lasagna, because my family makes it every Christmas. When I went vegan, I thought I couldn’t do that tradition anymore, but I found a way to do it with them.”
Cooking idols: “My dad, my grandpa, and Chef Desper, my high school culinary teacher, because they helped me find my love for cooking.”
What it means to be a US Foods Scholar: “It means the future to me, because it helps me go to culinary school, which helps and changes my future.”
Tamia Debus is a culinary arts student at Scottsdale Community College in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Tamia was born in Darmstadt, Germany, but has lived most of her life in Tampa, Florida. She grew up around Germans who believe food is love, so food always played a significant role when around her loved ones. From a young age, Tamia spent a lot of time cooking and making mud pies with her great-grandmother.
As a US Foods® Scholar, Tamia is most looking forward to perfecting her skills and learning new cooking techniques and methods. Her goal is to own a restaurant where she can run the kitchen and create her own menu. She also wants to build a safe space where people can come to eat food filled with love – like her family’s dinner table in Germany.
Fun Facts about Tamia
Favorite dish to prepare: “I love to make steamed buns for my family. They take hours to make, but the work is so hands-on, it turns into therapy!”
Favorite ingredient to cook with: “Potatoes are the best thing in the world! They have so much versatility, and are simply delicious and easy to work with.”
What it means to be a US Foods Scholar: “It means I get a chance to go to school stress-free, while working with an amazing company and getting exposure to new opportunities.”
Renata Salinas is a baking and pastry student at Kendall College of Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management in Chicago, Illinois.
Renata has wanted to be a chef from the age of 6 when she started cooking. She is grateful for the support of her parents, who have helped her by giving her cooking items and supplies.
Renata is looking forward to learning and taking on every opportunity the US Foods® Scholars program can provide. Her goal is to open bakery stores and restaurants in Chicago and Europe. She also hopes to become a leader in the culinary industry and inspire people to try cooking.
Fun Facts about Renata
Favorite dish to prepare: “Chicken wings”
Cooking idol: “Anne Burrell is my inspiration. I love watching her teach and encourage her team on her show – Worst Cooks in America.”
What it means to be a US Foods Scholar: “It means a lot to me. I'm happy and very grateful that I have been given this opportunity to grow as the years come.”
Angela Villanueva is from Chicago, and is a first-year culinary arts student at Kendall College of Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management in Chicago, IL.
SPRING 2020 SCHOLARs
New York, New York
Roshaun is a first-year student enrolled at the Culinary Institute of New York at Monroe College, where he is studying culinary arts and hospitality.
He discovered his passion for the culinary arts at a young age, and has been cooking since he was nine years old. He learned from watching his grandmother and mother prepare meals.
As a US Foods Scholar, Roshaun hopes to work in the restaurant industry for several years before eventually opening a restaurant of his own.
Fun Facts about Roshaun:
Favorite dish: “My favorite dish to prepare is jerk shrimp tacos.”
Most memorable kitchen moment: “My most memorable moment was spending time with my grandmother and watching her cook. Everything she made was impeccable, and it made me want to pursue a career in the culinary arts.”
What being a US Foods Scholar means to him: “Being a US Foods Scholar means everything to me. It has provided me with the opportunity to pursue what I love – and I couldn’t ask for anything more.”
Julianne Rae Mayormita
New York, New York
Julianne is a first-year student enrolled at the Culinary Institute of New York at Monroe College, where she is studying culinary arts and hospitality management.
She started cooking at a young age, helping her mother in the kitchen. As she got older, she discovered her passion for the culinary arts and joined a culinary program in high school.
As a US Foods Scholar, Julianne’s goal is to share her love of cooking with others. She’d like to first gain culinary experience by working in a hotel or restaurant. Later, she wants to travel the world to learn about new cuisines and share what she learns with others through the food she makes.
Fun Facts About Julianne:
Favorite dish: “My favorite dish is one I created for a cooking competition. It is a sautéed chicken breast braised with butter, rosemary, thyme and garlic, which is accompanied by a white wine, chicken stock-reduced sauce, potato purée, sautéed vegetables and a stuffed tomato.”
Most memorable kitchen moment: “My most memorable moment in the kitchen was when I was practicing for one of my competitions. I was so focused on cooking that I grabbed a pot that had just come off the stove without a rag and burned my hand. The chef I was working with kept pushing me and encouraged me to work through the pain. After the practice, I cried in the back of the classroom because I felt that I did poorly. I told myself that I would do better from then on.”
What being a US Foods Scholar means to her: “Being a US Foods scholar means that all the hard work, sweat and tears that I’ve put into my passion are paying off. It also means I can prove to everyone who thought I wouldn’t make it, that I did.”
New York, New York
Amaya is a first-year student enrolled at New York City College of Technology, where she is studying hospitality management and culinary arts.
Her Jamaican and Grenadian background inspired her to pursue a career in the culinary arts. As a child, she spent time in the kitchen with her mother or grandmother while they cooked, constantly thinking about what ingredients were needed in the delicious dishes they made.
As a US Foods Scholar, her goal is to open her own restaurant, where she wants to show the culinary world the love she has for her heritage in a unique way.
Fun Facts about Amaya:
Most memorable kitchen moment: “My most memorable moment in the kitchen was Thanksgiving a few years ago. All of my family members that lived in the United States came over and made their best dishes while sharing laughs! There’s nothing I love more than family, food, and laughter.”
What being a US Foods Scholar means to her: “This amazing opportunity is helping me get the education that will help lay down the foundation I need to master the kitchen as well as understand the fundamentals of hospitality and how it affects every aspect of the culinary field.”
Fall 2019 US Foods Scholars
Christian is a first-year student at Austin Community College, where he is pursuing a degree in culinary arts and entrepreneurship.
He began cooking in 2012, and the kitchens and cafés in which he worked became a refuge from the financial, physical and mental struggles he was experiencing at the time. It wasn’t until 2015, when Christian moved to chef-run kitchens, that he discovered he was a skilled cook with a true passion for culinary arts. It was then he realized he’d found his career.
As a US Foods Scholar, Christian hopes to open a space of his own where he can promote local businesses and artists, using food and beverage as the main attraction.
Fun Facts About Christian
Favorite dish to prepare: “Fried chicken, specifically fried chicken sandwiches. They may be simple, but I never underestimate the power of simplicity. I also enjoy making ramen, mainly due to the complexity that can be put into it.”
The impact he wants to have on the food and restaurant industry: “For me, food is all about bringing people together to experience something, to mingle, converse and enjoy the company of others. As a chef, I would like to support green processes and sustainable food, as well as up-and-coming and established local artists. I envision using food and beverage as encouragement to appreciate life. I want to create a community hub of joy, acceptance and great food.”
Activities he enjoys in his spare time: “I sing constantly, play guitar and write music. I’m an avid music listener as well, with tastes across the board. I exercise as often as possible, and I eat to keep up with it. Reading is something I like to do as well – mostly historical fiction, self-help books and recipe books.”
Destiny is a first-year student at The Art Institute of Atlanta, where she is earning an associate degree in culinary arts. She has been cooking since 2013, when she joined the U.S. Army as a foodservice specialist. The feeling she gets when someone loves a dish she prepared is what drew her to pursue a culinary career. While the chaotic nature of the kitchen isn’t for everyone, Destiny enjoys it and thrives in that environment.
As a US Foods Scholar, she hopes to run her own successful business and teach others how to prepare meals for themselves.
Fun Facts About Destiny
Most memorable moment in the kitchen: “When I served in the military. Having never been on ‘meats’ before, my shift leader felt it was time to come off ‘starch and veggies’ and challenge myself. So, on that Soul Food Thursday, it was my duty to prepare the ribs. I was terrified and everyone knew it, but with the help and encouragement of my fellow battle buddies, I successfully made over 200 servings of delicious ribs. I needed that challenge, and I will forever be grateful for that push.”
The impact she wants to have on the food and restaurant industry: “I want to show people that when it comes to food, less can be more. You don’t need an expensive piece of fish for it to be delicious. I would love to have a giving business where I would offer more than just a cooking class, and instead, demonstrate and share minor tips that can make major differences in the kitchen.”
What it means to be a US Foods Scholar: “It means that, although chances may appear slim, if you believe you are worthy of recognition and reward, you just might get it. This award is only the beginning, and I believe this open door can and will open many more.”
Frauntashia is a first-year student at the Art Institute of Atlanta, where she is pursuing an Associate Degree in baking and pastry. She was inspired to begin baking about five years ago, after watching baking and cake-decorating shows on television. She was fascinated by how the pastry artists created works of art out of the different cakes and baked goods.
It is now her goal to create cakes, breads and pastries from different parts of the world, while putting her own creative spin on the final dishes. Earning a US Foods Scholars scholarship helped her realize she had more potential than she thought, and she has gained more confidence in the kitchen.
Fun Facts About Frauntashia
Most memorable moment in the kitchen: “Last Christmas, my brother and I did all the holiday cooking. We made a Christmas feast for my family and even made dumplings from scratch.”
The impact she wants to have on the food and restaurant industry: “I want to make and share the delicious tastes of cakes, breads and pastries from other countries. I hope people from these countries will be reminded of their homelands when tasting what I’ve baked.”
Activities she enjoys in her spare time: “I enjoy exercising and learning about different types of ingredients. I am especially interested in learning which foods and ingredients can be substituted for others in a recipe.”
Grace is a first-year student at Austin Community College, where she is pursuing a degree in culinary and pastry arts. She grew up in a New Orleans restaurant, where she developed an appreciation for the employees who worked hard to create magical experiences for their guests. She began cooking in earnest more than five years ago, hosting dinner parties for her friends and always challenging herself to create better dishes for each event.
As a US Foods Scholar, she hopes to become an executive chef or a personal chef for celebrities. She’d love to open her own restaurant and showcase her roots and influences on the menu.
Fun Facts About Grace
Most memorable moment in the kitchen: “When I landed my first pop-up gig for a non-profit called Gardenio in Austin, Texas. It was for a small number of people, but I was cooking to raise money and awareness for a cause.”
The impact she wants to have on the food and restaurant industry: “I would love to give back to kids who have dreamt of having an impact on the culinary industry, just like I used to. My goal is to create affordable, after-school cooking classes for kids to help expand their endless possibilities.”
What it means to be a US Foods Scholar: "It means being open and communicative with my professors to push myself to become a better student. It means having freedom to enjoy school without an economic burden so I can truly focus on my craft. As a US Foods Scholar, the door for opportunity is much larger and it also gives me the opportunity to connect with others in this profession.”
Raleigh, North Carolina
Hannah is a first-year student at Wake Technical Community College in Raleigh, where she is double-majoring in baking and pastry and culinary arts. She has spent most of her life in the kitchen, and started cooking at the age of three. She hasn’t stopped since.
As a US Foods Scholar, Hannah’s long-term dream is to open a gluten-free bakery and coffee shop. She has wheat and dairy allergies, so she wants to open a place that has a variety of delicious options for those who struggle to find treats like she does.
Fun Facts About Hannah
What inspired her to pursue culinary arts: “The earliest memory I have from my childhood was baking brownies in the kitchen with my mom. Ever since that moment, I knew that I wanted to be a chef. It was a dream that I never questioned or thought about twice. I just knew that it was what I wanted to do. My mom played a large role in where I am today. If she was not as intentional as she was about getting me in the kitchen, I probably would not have developed the dedication and love for cooking that I have today.”
Most memorable moment in the kitchen: “I have hundreds of memories that have taken place in the kitchen, but one of my absolute favorites was when a friend and I made cupcakes for a wedding. We were using the kitchen at her church to bake around 250 cupcakes. To our dismay, something had spilled in the oven, and when we turned them on the fire alarms were set off, resulting in the entire local fire department showing up. Despite our adventures, the cupcakes turned out incredibly, and the wedding was a success.”
What it means to be a US Foods Scholar: “It is such an incredible honor. I had no idea that following a passion of mine could lead me where it has. This is such an astounding opportunity that can open so many doors. I am extremely thankful to be named one of the US Foods Scholars. This extraordinary opportunity will allow me to continue pursing degrees in both culinary and baking, and pastry arts.”
Jessica, who goes by Jessie, is a first-year student at Johnson & Wales University in Denver, where she is studying baking and pastry arts, as well as hospitality and food service management. Her love of culinary arts started at a young age, as she spent much of her childhood in the kitchen cooking with her family. She has been cooking in school and in restaurants for more than four years, and three years ago, started attending school to pursue a career in the culinary arts.
As a US Foods scholar, Jessie hopes to begin her career working for a well-known cake artist or baker and learn how to perfect her craft before one day opening a bakery of her own.
Fun Facts About Jessie
The impact she wants to have on the food and restaurant industry: “I would like to use my skills and knowledge to help fight hunger and provide support to families in need of food.”
Activities she enjoys in her spare time: “One of my favorite activities is cake decorating. It’s a way for me to de-stress and it serves as an outlet for my feelings. Decorating cakes helps me take everything that’s wrong in my life and throw it right out the window.”
What it means to be a US Foods Scholar: “Being a US Foods Scholar means so much to me. US Foods is a very well-known company in the food industry, and to be able to continue my education with their support means the world.”
Raleigh, North Carolina
Karla is a first-year student at Wake Technical Community College in Raleigh, where she is majoring in culinary arts. Her desire to pursue a career in the culinary arts started during high school, when she took several food classes that piqued her interests. This newfound passion eventually led her to join her school’s culinary team.
As a US Foods Scholar, once she graduates with her culinary degree, Karla would like to start working in a professional kitchen and travel the world to learn about different cultures and food customs.
Fun Facts About Karla
The impact she wants to have on the food and restaurant industry: “I would like to empower women in the kitchen. Many females are not taken seriously in this field, and I want to change that. I want to let women know that they have what it takes to succeed in this male-dominated profession.”
Favorite dish to prepare: “I enjoy making tacos because they’re very simple, and you can use your own creativity and transform the dish into a memorable experience. They are also very tasty!”
What it means to be a US Foods Scholar: “It means new opportunities for me to explore the culinary world, to meet new people and have fun!”
Nicolas is a first-year student enrolled at Johnson & Wales University in Denver, where he is studying culinary arts, foodservice and food and beverage management. He has been cooking since he was 12 years old, which is when he realized his passion for making other people happy through the creation of great-tasting cuisine.
As a US Foods Scholar, he has the long-term goal of owning and operating his own restaurant, with a menu that reflects his love of food and the feeling of community it creates.
Fun Facts About Nicolas
What inspired him to pursue culinary arts: “I was part of an International Baccalaureate program in middle school, and one of our projects required us to research a topic in depth. I chose culinary arts, specifically Italian cuisine. I loved watching the meals come together from the raw ingredients and then getting to serve them to all my peers and their parents. I have always loved cooking for others and seeing the joy on their faces when they experience eating amazing food.”
Favorite dish to prepare: “I love cooking Bolognese, as it was the first dish I learned to cook for my project in sixth grade.”
What it means to be a US Foods Scholar: “Representing the best that the culinary arts world has to offer. It means always putting your full effort into what you love and sharing your passion with others.”
Summer 2019 US Foods Scholars
Alana is a first-year student at Johnson & Wales University in Denver, Colorado. She is pursuing an Associate Degree in culinary arts.
Cooking has been a part of Alana’s life since she was two years old. Some of her earliest memories were of being in the kitchen with her grandmother and helping her cook her famous rolls. Alana’s mother is a professional chef and is her inspiration for going into the industry.
As a US Foods® Scholar, Alana hopes to take what she learns and apply it to becoming a culinary arts therapist. She believes in the power of the culinary arts, and wants to help people who have suffered various traumas heal through culinary processes.
Fun Facts about Alana
Favorite dish: "My favorite dish to prepare is homemade ramen noodles. It may seem trivial, but in the Maricopa High School culinary program, we specialized in cuisines from around the world."
What it means to be a US Foods Scholar: "It means that I will be able to help industrialize and further the evolution of the culinary industry. Not everyone ends up in the kitchen. Some people end up in the front of the house, while others take care of deliveries. It just means to me that this great gift that we all possess can create something extraordinary for those around us and those who we serve."
Daylynn is a first-year student at Robert Morris University Illinois in Chicago, Illinois, where she is studying culinary arts and hospitality management.
Her love for cooking started at a young age, and cooking with her family is something she considers to be very special. She has been cooking with her grandmother for her entire life, and the first meal she prepared was fried chicken.
As a US Foods® Scholar, Daylynn hopes to take what she learns and become the owner and executive chef of a food truck.
Fun Facts About Daylynn
Favorite dish: Chicken Alfredo
Activities she likes to do in her spare time: "In my spare time, I like to cook for my family and friends. Additionally, I love writing poetry and singing."
The impact she would like to have on the food and restaurant industry: "I'd like to take what I learn as a US Foods Scholar and start my own food truck someday. I hope to become a well-known executive chef, and influence others to pursue a path in the culinary arts industry that isn’t an ordinary one, just like mine."
New Rochelle, New York
Erik is a first-year student at the Culinary Institute of New York at Monroe College in New Rochelle, New York. He plans to study culinary arts and hospitality.
He has been cooking since he was 10 years old. His family has been a major influence on him, teaching him a great deal about Caribbean cuisine. When they saw he was interested in pursuing a culinary career, they pushed him to learn different styles of cooking and become a more well-rounded chef.
As a US Foods® Scholar, Erik wants to continue to hone his culinary skills, and pursue his lifelong dream of becoming a professional chef and opening his own restaurant.
Fun Facts About Erik
Most memorable moment in the kitchen: "My most memorable moment in the kitchen was when my chef allowed me to co-teach his class with him. It was an honor I wasn’t worthy of yet, but when put in that position, I did well and was able to teach the underclassmen several techniques that took me years to learn. The experience flooded me with an enormous sense of pride."
What it means to be a US Foods Scholar: "With this opportunity, my dream becomes closer to reality, and it allows me to learn from chefs who I would have never had the opportunity to meet."
The impact he would like to have on the food and restaurant industry: "My goal is to become a prominent figure in the food and restaurant industry someday. I hope to give as much as I can to the next generation of chefs, in the same way this current generation of chefs has given to me."
Jessica is a rising first-year baking and pastry student, school undecided.
Jessica’s passion for the culinary arts stemmed from her sister Danielle, a former Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP) student, whose career path inspired her. As a child, Jessica began baking cupcakes for friends and family, and it made her happy knowing others enjoyed her creations. She was thrilled that baking and pastry provided a way for her to combine her love for art and cooking into a single passion.
As a US Foods® Scholar, she hopes to become a professional baking and pastry chef. She currently has her own small business called “Jessica Sweets!” and hopes to learn how to design the pastries seen in the windows of baking and pastry shops.
Fun Facts About Jessica
Favorite dish to prepare: "I have three: pound cake, cheesecake and lasagna."
Activities she likes to do in her spare time: "I love to play video games with my friends most of the time, but I’m a digital artist as well, drawing pieces of art for personal projects or commissions. I also love knitting and building in my spare time."
What being a US Foods Scholar means to her: "It means I am a part of a greater field of work, and that there are options available to me. It also means that I will be able to learn from other chefs who can help me succeed in the culinary industry. Most importantly, it is something I feel incredibly thankful for."
New Rochelle, New York
Keianna is a first-year student at the Culinary Institute of New York at Monroe College in New Rochelle, New York, where she will be working toward her Bachelor’s Degree in culinary arts and hospitality management.
Keianna started cooking at the age of six and was making full meals by the time she was 12 years old. Her mother inspired her in cooking, always making something in the kitchen during her childhood and teaching her the skills she needed to succeed.
As a US Foods® Scholar, Keianna hopes to explore different places in the world, embrace their cultures and learn how to make ethnic cuisines. She thrives on getting out of her comfort zone.
Fun Facts About Keianna
Most memorable moment in the kitchen: "My most memorable moments in the kitchen have come from when I cook with my mom. When we cook together, the kitchen is always filled with laughter and conversation."
What being a US Foods Scholar means to her: "It means that I worked to the best of my abilities, and have the support of an organization that will take care of me and guide my success."
The impact she would like to have on the food and restaurant industry: "The impact I would like to have on the restaurant industry stems from who I am as a person. I am a woman of color striving to make a name for myself in a male-dominated industry. I want people to know that while I make mistakes, I learn from them and push forward. I want to inspire others to have the same courage to pursue their own careers in the food and restaurant industry, like I have."
Mikiara is a first-year student at Joliet Junior College in Joliet, Illinois, where she will be majoring in culinary arts.
Her culinary career started at the age of eight, when she tried to melt scrambled eggs and ended up making an omelet. Growing up around food, her family was the inspiration behind her pursuit of a career in the culinary arts.
Being a US Foods® Scholar will help Mikiara pursue her goal of working in a restaurant with a strong reputation, and eventually, owning one of her own.
Fun Facts about Mikiara
Favorite dish to prepare: "Any dishes having to do with sweets are my favorite things to make. I love cupcakes in particular, because they are versatile and can be customized in thousands of different ways."
Most memorable moment in the kitchen: "My most memorable kitchen experience was helping prep for a Marcus Samuelsson book-viewing party. Watching how everything unfolded, then meeting Marcus Samuelsson, was great. It was one of my favorite experiences."
What being a US Foods Scholar means to her: "With the help of US Foods, it means that I have the ability to achieve a dream that normally would’ve put me through years of debt."
Reagan is a first-year student studying hotel and restaurant management at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona.
Reagan’s interest in the culinary arts stemmed from watching her mother and grandmother in the kitchen growing up. Getting to see them bake for the holidays ultimately inspired her to pursue baking and pastry herself.
Being a US Foods® Scholar will help Reagan achieve her dream of one day owning a small neighborhood café where people can feel at home.
Fun Facts about Reagan
Favorite dish to prepare: "One of my favorite things to prepare is pies. I love the process that goes into making them."
What being a US Foods Scholar means to her: "Being a US Foods scholar is very important to me, because it means that I am able to pursue what I love – which would be much more difficult for my family if I did not have this scholarship."
The impact she would like to have on the food and restaurant industry: "I would like to have an impact in a small area. I want to own a place that has regulars and makes people smile when they walk in. I want to create a place where people can try foods they wouldn’t normally expect to enjoy."
Samantha is a first-year student at the University of Arizona in Tucson, Arizona, where she will be studying nutritional sciences.
Samantha’s interest in the culinary arts was sparked by her love of the idea that food brings people together, and her appreciation of the art that comes with preparing a dish. She saw this idea reflected in her family and culture, and began cooking at an early age when her mother showed her how to make a quesadilla.
As a US Foods® Scholar, Samantha hopes to learn about the chemistry behind the food people eat in order to advance her knowledge of its health benefits. In the future, she hopes to create dishes that are both nutritious and tasty, and she would love to give people advice and develop healthy recipes.
Fun Facts about Samantha
Most memorable moment in the kitchen: "My most memorable moment in the kitchen was the first time I helped my mother make tamales. My whole family was sitting around the table having a good time helping out."
What being a US Foods Scholar means to her: "I am honored to be a US Foods Scholar. This opportunity will allow me to further my education in order to achieve my career goals."
The impact she would like to have on the food and restaurant industry: "I would love to be able to show the food and restaurant industry several ways to improve the health and nutrition of different foods and recipes."
New Rochelle, New York
Tianna is a first-year student at the Culinary Institute of New York at Monroe College in New Rochelle, New York, where she will be majoring in baking and pastry arts.
Coming from a Latin background, Tianna’s grandparents were the ones who inspired her to pursue a career in the culinary arts. Cooking is a central part of her family life, from trying new recipes to making family-oriented foods.
Being a US Foods® Scholar will help Tianna achieve her goals of getting her Associate Degree in baking and pastry arts, as well as her Bachelor’s in business management and hospitality. After achieving her educational goals, she hopes to open her own bakery.
Fun Facts about Tianna
Favorite dish to prepare: "My favorite dish to prepare is a soul food dish with macaroni and cheese, cornbread, and chicken marinated in soy sauce."
What being a US Foods Scholar means to her: "Being a US Foods Scholar means a lot to me, because it gives me the opportunity to live my dream and be a part of a community of others who have achieved so much and worked as much as I have to get here."
The impact she would like to have on the food and restaurant industry: "I would like to impact how women are represented in the kitchen, because we can truly do anything as well as men can. Not only that, but if I own a bakery, I want to bring in a diverse culture to it."
2019 Spring US Foods Scholars
Raleigh, North Carolina
Amber Fuqua is a hospitality management student at Wake Technical Community College in Raleigh, North Carolina. She started cooking at a young age after her dad asked her to prepare dinner each night for the family while he was at work. Amber’s dad bought her a variety of cookbooks to help her learn the ropes, and naturally, she developed a passion for all things food.
Growing up, Amber and her family faced several hardships, but they worked together to make the most of what they had. Her childhood gave her a true appreciation for being able to put food on the table. Amber’s experiences have stuck with her and have inspired her to pursue a career in the culinary arts and get involved with organizations like the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina.
Being a US Foods Scholar will allow Amber to continue her education in hospitality management after graduating from Wake Technical Community College in summer 2019. Her goal is to become a wedding planner and to continue her involvement in the fight against hunger.
Fun Facts about Amber
Favorite dish: “Potato casserole! I also really love to bake anything sweet, preferably brownies.”
Most memorable kitchen moment: “My most memorable moment was the first time I cooked pho, a popular Vietnamese dish, with my boyfriend. It connected us relationally, as well as culturally.”
What it means to be a US Foods Scholar: “Accepting this award fills me with gratification because I have now been exposed to both ends of the spectrum. By this, I simply mean that I know what it is like to go without food, as well as what it is like to be in a financially stable situation that allows you to truly enjoy what you eat.”
Angel’o Hill is a student at the Art Institute of Atlanta in Atlanta, Georgia. He is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in culinary arts management.
For the last 14 years, Angel’o has used cooking to unite family and friends and create memories. He learned that his food brought people together and helped mend issues with loved ones. This inspired him to go back to school to expand his culinary knowledge and ultimately, pursue a career in the industry.
As a US Foods Scholar, Angel’o hopes to learn more about global cuisines and fine dining through mentorship opportunities and continued education. After he graduates from the Art Institute of Atlanta, he plans to attend Georgia State University, also in Atlanta, to obtain a master’s degree in hospitality management. Angel’o’s goal is to become a travel consultant focused on culinary experiences. Eventually, he wants to develop restaurant chains that cater to a wide variety of styles and cultures.
Fun Facts about Angel’o
Favorite dish: “I can’t pick just one! A few of my go-to favorites are quiche; cilantro, lime and garlic chicken with yellow infused rice; and lamb with garlic mashed potatoes and fresh arugula salad.”
Most memorable kitchen moment: “My most memorable moment in the kitchen was Thanksgiving 2018, when I was the sous chef at a high-end independent retirement living facility. It was great to be in the kitchen and be able to serve and bless the residents with a great Thanksgiving meal.”
What it means to be a US Foods Scholar: “It shows me that I have the opportunity to be greater and succeed. It inspires me to be an example for future culinary students.”
Destinee Chatman is a baking and pastry student at the Art Institute of Atlanta in Atlanta, Georgia.
Destinee was five years old when she started following her grandmother around the kitchen and watching her whip up creative recipes using whatever ingredients were on hand. As she got older, she discovered food personalities like Buddy Valastro, Rachael Ray and Ree Drummond and grew to admire their passion for cooking and ability to make connections through food. After years of watching her idols cook, Destinee realized it was her dream to leave her own mark on the food and restaurant industry.
Being a US Foods Scholar will help Destinee accomplish her goal of owning a food business. She hopes to open a food truck that offers dishes for kids and adults alike and wants to build her own bakery franchise. Destinee also looks forward to using her future success to educate and inspire aspiring culinary leaders.
Fun Facts about Destinee
Favorite dish: “Most people take this as a surprise, but I have yet to discover a favorite dish. I rarely make the same dish twice because I like to broaden my palette and challenge myself to produce new things.”
Most memorable kitchen moment: “My most memorable moments will always be turning out dishes. I love to see how everyone’s hard work and preparation comes together to create a beautiful outcome.”
What it means to be a US Foods Scholar: “It means that people will hear my background story and appreciate the passion and love I have for the culinary industry. This program also gives me the opportunity to continue developing the skills I need to become a world-class baker.”
Liliana Flores is a first-year baking and pastry and foodservice management student at Johnson & Wales University in Denver, Colorado.
Liliana has been cooking and baking for 10 years. Her interest was inspired by her father, who shares her love of being in the kitchen and taught her the link between creating good food and making people happy. She was also inspired by her mother, who is just as creative in the kitchen and taught her how to make her favorite dishes. Liliana knew early on that this was her passion and that it was something that she wanted to turn into a career.
As a US Foods Scholar, Liliana will continue to learn more about the food and restaurant industry and explore new and different foods. After graduation, she hopes to achieve her dreams of traveling the world, helping create comfortable and inclusive restaurant environments and opening her very own cake shop. Liliana is also committed to identifying and offering food options that cater to people with food allergies and dietary restrictions.
Fun Facts about Liliana
Favorite dish: “My favorite dish to prepare is spaghetti.”
Most memorable kitchen moment: “One of the most memorable moments in the kitchen was when I was making a birthday cake for a party, and my chocolate cake was stuck to the pan. I was ready to give up, but I didn’t. Instead, I took a deep breath and went back to working. I made another cake and turned the cracked cake into cake pops. Both were a hit! I always think back to this moment because it gives me confidence that I should never give up.”
What it means to be a US Foods Scholar: “It means having a great opportunity to new doors and new culinary connections.”
Raleigh, North Carolina
Lillie Hood is a baking and pastry arts student at Wake Technical Community College in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Lillie’s love for all things food has been years in the making. She started baking when she was a child, and as she got older, she became more interested in learning about the different aspects and techniques of baking. Lillie describes herself as organized and artistic and felt that those traits, combined with her skills and passion for baking, were a natural fit for a career as a pastry chef. With the encouragement of her family and friends, she decided to pursue an education in the culinary arts.
Being a US Foods Scholar will help Lillie accomplish her goal of becoming a pastry chef and opening her own bakery in her hometown, McGee's Crossroads, North Carolina. She looks forward to creating spectacular dishes and finding ways to use her baking to give back to the food industry and her local community.
Fun Facts about Lillie
Favorite dish: “I love baking cakes. My dad has alpha-gal and cannot eat dairy products, so I like to mess around with different ingredients and figure out what works and tastes good, so he can enjoy my creations.”
Most memorable kitchen moment: “My most memorable moment was when a fellow peer put too much powdered sugar in their mixer to make buttercream icing. When they turned it on, it went everywhere. It reminded me that no matter what age or skill level you are, no one is perfect, and we can all learn from little mistakes.”
What it means to be a US Foods Scholar: “Being a US Foods Scholar means that my dedication is not going unnoticed. It gives me a boost to not give up on my dreams, and it’s something I can be proud of during challenging times.”
Molly Leibbrandt is a culinary arts and food service management student at Johnson & Wales University in Denver, Colorado.
Molly first developed a fascination with cooking when she took a health and nutrition class during her sophomore year in high school. She also loved watching cooking shows and admired the creativity of the chefs who worked under pressure. After taking a ProStart class during her senior year, Molly started to envision herself as a future chef and decided to pursue culinary arts as a career.
As a US Foods Scholar, Molly will take what she is learning and apply it to her current job at the Four Seasons Hotel in Denver. She hopes to continue working her way up in restaurants, eventually advancing to an executive chef position. Her ultimate dream is to own a restaurant that serves locally sourced dishes. In addition to her culinary career, Molly looks forward to working with other chefs and leaders to help solve the food waste issue in the restaurant industry.
Fun Facts about Molly
Favorite dish: “My family really likes my egg rolls, and I love making food that they enjoy. There are a lot of cuts involved to make them just right, and they can take a lot of time, but the finished product is always delicious!”
Most memorable kitchen moment: “I decided to make cannoli from scratch for an anatomy and physiology class my senior year. It was for a project where we had to demonstrate a blood clotting disorder. It took me three hours to make them, but my classmate and I received extra credit because of our creativity. Others in the class also asked me to make more!”
What it means to be a US Foods Scholar: “Being a US Foods Scholar means that all my hard work has paid off. I feel more confident that I can accomplish what I put my efforts toward. I am very proud to have received this award, and I am very grateful to US Foods for selecting me.”
Stevani Flahaut is a first-year culinary science student at Austin Community College in Austin, Texas.
Stevani has been cooking since she was 10 years old. Growing up, her mother was a single parent and prepared simple meals and boxed dinners for Stevani and her brother. Stevani started to experiment with how she could create new and different dishes and took on the role of making dinner every night. Since then, her passion for cooking has only grown. Between working, cooking for family and friends and meal prepping, Stevani spends her days in the kitchen and loves every minute of it.
Being a US Foods Scholar will allow Stevani to work with chefs who share her passion for the culinary arts. She wants to develop her own character and cooking style and become a chef who puts pride and soul into her dishes. Eventually, she wants to run her own food operation that reflects her cooking philosophy.
Fun Facts about Stevani
Favorite Dish: “If I had to choose just one dish, it would be a Thai cuisine called TigerCry – a seared beef and scallion salad with celery leaves, Thai basil, peppers, onions and lots of spice. The fresh salad is tossed with a chili soy sauce dressing and will knock your socks off.”
Most memorable kitchen moment: “When I was 21 years old, I was hired as a sous chef for Latitude 28°02' in Rockport, Texas, a renowned restaurant owned by executive chef Craig Day. The year I was hired he also celebrated his 14th year of operations. When I was 22, I lead our three-person kitchen staff in breaking his record of 184 heads serviced. That night, we serviced 214 people. No food was sent back. It was a milestone for Craig and an achievement I will hold dear to me forever.”
What it means to be a US Foods Scholar: “It means I was given a chance to pursue a career in what I love to do the most without the financial burdens of loans. It means I can take a deep breath and enjoy going to school, working part time and having time for extracurricular activities. It is an honor to have been chosen as a US Foods Scholar. I cannot wait to see the proud faces of my family and friends, as I will be the first person in my family to receive a college degree.”
2018 US Foods Scholars
Bran’de Gilbert is a first-year baking & pastry student at Kendall College’s School of Culinary Arts in Chicago. She started cooking at the age of three, when her father taught her how to pick and clean greens. After a few more years of shadowing her parents in the kitchen, she eventually became responsible for cooking the majority of her family’s meals.
Bran’de realized that she wanted to turn her love for cooking into a career during her sophomore year in high school, following a five-week culinary exploratory program at Simeon Career Academy. She began taking advantage of all the resources available at her school, including working closely with the culinary teacher, and going on a trip to Canada with a group of other students interested in culinary arts.
Being a US Foods Scholars is helping Bran’de achieve her dream of becoming a pastry chef. Her goal is to own multiple bakeries and/or pastry trucks–and inspire other young students like herself to pursue a career in the culinary industry.
Fun Facts about Bran’de
Favorite dish: “Brownies. I love to make different types of candy-flavored brownies.”
Most memorable kitchen moment: “Last year, when I made homemade pasta from scratch for the very first time.”
What it means to be a US Foods Scholar: “Working hard, maintaining good grades, never giving up when things get tough and always communicating.”
Diana Diaz is a freshman at Arizona State University majoring in nutrition.
Diana’s passion for the culinary arts started early, when she would cook with her Nana, and was solidified after taking a culinary class her junior year of high school.
Being a US Foods Scholar is helping Diana pursue her passion of becoming a nutritionist and making a difference in society. She wants to take the negative connotations out of “diet” by teaching others who may have dietary restrictions how to eat in a way that betters their lives, while still enjoying creative, delicious and satisfying dishes.
Fun Facts about Diana
Most memorable kitchen moment: “My most memorable moment in the kitchen was my C-CAP final competition, because of the adrenaline that I felt. You’re on a time limit and trying to make a really delicious dish that’s not only good but presentable too!”
Hobbies: “In my spare time, I play softball and soccer, and I am in leagues for both sports. I also like hiking with my partner and our nephew and niece.”
What it means to be a US Foods Scholar: “Like many other students I know, I understand what it's like to not be able to pay for college. The fact that I was given the opportunity to be a US Foods Scholar means everything because I know it will help me find success in my career, and it insipires me to give back to those who will need help in the future.”
Elliott Moore is a freshman majoring in culinary arts at Joliet Junior College in Joliet, Illinois.
Elliott has been cooking for over seven years. His interest in the culinary arts was sparked by his father, who he grew up watching in the kitchen. When Elliott
had the opportunity to take culinary classes in high school, this only solidified his passion. His father is an avid supporter of his career goals and continues to encourage Elliott to follow his dreams.
As a US Foods Scholar, Elliott hopes to earn his degree in the culinary arts and eventually pursue his dream of being a professional chef on a cruise ship.
Fun Facts about Elliott
Favorite dish: “Fried chicken strips!”
Most memorable kitchen moment: “My most memorable moment in the kitchen is when my teacher threw my plate of food away and told me to start over because he knew I could do better.”
What it means to be a US Foods Scholar: “Being a US Foods Scholar means a lot because it opens up new doors for me and allows me to pursue my dream of becoming a chef.”
Gabrielle Siegfried is a first-year baking & pastry and hospitality management student at Kendall College’s School of Culinary Arts in Chicago.
Gabrielle’s passion for the culinary arts stems from her love of bringing people together. She learned the impact of making connections through food by watching cooking shows and baking with her grandmother. Gabrielle began cooking regularly when she was in middle school and became the resident baker for her art club. Not only were her creations an instant hit with the other members, but they inspired Gabrielle to pursue a career as a pastry chef.
Being a US Foods Scholar helps Gabrielle work towards her dream of attaining her degree in the culinary arts and hospitality management, and to continue using baking to connect with people of all backgrounds. After she graduates, she hopes to pursue a career working for a food company that offers a wide array of career opportunities and encourages other students to achieve their dreams.
Fun Facts about Gabrielle
Favorite dish: “Any kind of cookie or cake!”
Most memorable kitchen moment: “Making my parents a four-course meal for my dad’s birthday all by myself.”
What it means to be a US Foods Scholar: “The door of opportunity is now open in ways I never could have imagined, and all of my hard work is paying off.”
Jackson Gilmore is a first-year human resources management student at Oregon State University and has been cooking for four years.
Jackson was inspired by his culinary teacher, Patti Pastor, to pursue a career in the culinary arts.
Being a US Foods Scholar is helping Jackson pursue his dream of owning and operating a fly fishing lodge that serves outstanding food. He also wants to be a role model for sustainability not only in the kitchen, but in how society views sourcing fish.
Fun Facts about Jackson
Favorite dish: “Baked Alaska.”
Most memorable kitchen moment: “My most memorable moment was when I was a chef at a fly fishing camp in the Alaskan bush. Each week, the float plane landed and I had to think on my feet and adapt my weekly menu from what I ordered, to what I actually received.”
What it means to be a US Foods Scholar: “Being a US Foods Scholar means everything. Without the support of US Foods, I could not go to Oregon State.”
Joseph Garza was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona, and is a first-year student at the Culinary Institute of America in New York.
Joseph’s passion for cooking was inspired by his grandmother. Starting when he was nine years old, he would regularly watch and cook alongside her in the kitchen, starting off with simple tasks and working his way up to larger meals.
Being a US Foods Scholar is helping Joseph pursue an education at one of the top culinary schools in the United States and live his personal mantra of not “working”, but instead making a living by doing what he loves.
Fun Facts about Joseph
Most memorable kitchen moment: “It’s probably one of my first cooking experiences with my grandma. A more recent one would be me and my close friend making pizza in my kitchen. Just watching him try something I enjoy doing was fun, and his reactions on the tasty end-result were even better.”
What it means to be a US Foods Scholar: “It’s another stepping stone and partnership in my life to make my dream and goals so much more real. It’s a great opportunity.”
Hobbies: “In addition to cooking, I also enjoy reading and writing.”