Across the arts there are hundreds of programs designed to provide funding for people who want to train, study or further their careers. Ballet dancers, painters, musicians and a number of sports stars are sponsored through their educations, and there are thousands of foundations around the world to make sure funding is awarded in specific industries. However, culinary scholarships don't really exist.
Certain schools such as the Culinary Institute of America offer scholarships for educational courses and there’s the world famous Roux Scholarship or the Ment’or program produced by Bocuse D’or – but what about funds for young cooks already working in the kitchen?
This is exactly the idea behind a new project started by the three–starred chef Andreas Caminada, who just last month launched Fundaziun Uccelin – a foundation aimed at helping culinary and hospitality professionals develop their careers.
It will give young cooks and servers the chance to apply for funding to help them study, take internships around the world or spend time working with specific producers and professionals to better their own careers. It’s a unique idea and is the first foundation of its kind in the world.
“It’s a non-profit foundation”, says Caminada, “there are so many young chefs who can’t afford to travel for their experience but they are so passionate. We want to help them.”
The idea is simple: young chefs and servers under 35–years–old with a specific amount of experience in the industry will have the opportunity to apply for funding from the foundation for a personal 20–week program. “Maybe they want to take a stage somewhere else in the world and we can try to set this up, to pay for the trip but also connect them with other great chefs," says Caminada, who until recently was the youngest chef in the world to receive three Michelin stars.
The idea is to open up the ever growing international community of gastronomy to those chefs, servers and students who may otherwise not be able to afford it. But also to use the experience of those helped by the foundation to create a cycle of support. As Caminada says, “The idea is that the students who will travel to new places will also be encouraged to produce products which we can then sell and put the profits back into the foundation … Maybe a student goes to Brazil and then brings back an idea for a product, we create it with his or her name on the label and then this is sold, helping to support the next chef to go on their own experience.”
On top of help to send young cooks and servers to stagiaire in specific restaurants around the world, the foundation wants to create specific programs that will encourage people to learn across the industry, “maybe in a restaurant, maybe on a farm or with a specific producer”, says Caminada.
The scholarships are broken down into 20–week programs that provide further education across a mix of areas within the industry, there will also be specific funding for anyone wanting to continue with higher education focused specifically on gastronomy. Anyone interested in applying for funding should visit the foundation website.
“We want to help these young professionals fly a bit quicker,” says Caminda – a commendable idea that is set to impact young chefs and servers all over the world.