High School Student Wins $25,000 Scholarship (& More!) for Culinary School

February 22, 2018  • 

Ever dreamt of attending culinary school? Recently, Yum-o!, the Rachael Ray Show, and the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) worked together to make that dream come true for four aspiring young chefs in the “Cook Your Way to Culinary School” competition.

After hundreds of submissions and many interviews, and a few rounds of cuts, these talented finalists were flown to New York City to face off in three different in-studio challenges on Rachael’s daytime show. They were not only judged by Rach, but culinary heavy-hitters like “Top Chef’s” Gail Simmons and Chef Curtis Stone as well.

And the stakes were high! The grand prize winner received a $25,000 scholarship for culinary school (plus $500-worth of Rachael Ray cookware). And don’t worry, all three runners-up received $5,000 scholarships and $500-worth of Rach’s cookware as well!

“I think that all of you are very deserving […] Amazing young chefs, amazing!” Rach said right before the winners were announced.

The four finalists were:
– Jules Esposito, an 18-year-old high school senior from Wallingford, CT
– Alyssa Webster, a 17-year-old high school junior from Fresno, CA
– Cloyce Martin, a 16-year-old high school junior from Villa Park, CA
– Nick Capone, a 17-year-old high-school-senior from Denville, NJ

And the winner was…drumroll, please…Nick Capone! He told the Rachael Ray Show “Growing up, I struggled going to school and socializing, and being in the kitchen was my way of just being myself and building up my confidence.”

Winner Nick Capone

Yum-o! was proud to provide the prizes for this competition, to continue to support it’s “Fund” pillar of helping more talented people enter the foodservice industry. We’re also proud to partner with the NRAEF, which is dedicated to training and advancing the next generation of culinary leaders, to help administer these prizes. And of course, a huge thanks to the Rachael Ray Show for making the contest a reality.

To read more about the winners and watch the reveal, check out more from the Rachael Ray Show.

Congratulations again to everyone who entered!

[All photos courtesy of the Rachael Ray Show]