A “Stage” Scholarship for Miami Creatives in F&B

Update 8/10/19: It’s now official!

As of July 31, 2019, the Florida non-profit Corp “THIS IS THE NEW MIAMI SCHOLARSHIP, INC” is up and running. Next step is the FEIN and a bank account so I can start this year’s fund-raising efforts. First scholarship is planned for 11.5.19. Stay tuned as it develops!


The Idea

A couple of years ago, I didn’t even know what a “Stagiaire” was. I learned it was fairly commonplace for chefs to work - for free - in a world class kitchen in what works out to be a win-win for all involved. I know that I have learned more from traveling than I ever learned in college, so I understood that the idea could really be life-changing for a young creative. But for free? Very few line cooks or pastry chefs or floor Somms are putting away enough money in savings to fly to another city - or maybe even a foreign country - and cover their expenses for a few months while they learn from one of the best in the business.

So why not help them?

I could build something into my estate to fund a scholarship, but I don’t plan on dying any time soon and I’d like to see this benefit people now.

I spoke with a number of Chefs (Thank you Val Chang, Brad Kilgore, Niven Patel, Mike Beltran, Akino West) and together we came up with an amount of money that would be necessary ($6,000) and a time frame for how long would make the “Stage” most valuable. (3 Months)


The Plan

Now that we had the parameters, all that was needed was some admin work (starting a non-profit) and doing some fund-raising.

The plan is that for every $6,000 raised, one young man or woman from Miami would be given a scholarship to go “stage” in the kitchen of a world-class chef. The stage would occur during “off season” in Miami - meaning July, August & September - and the only caveat is that there would be a written contract, obligating the recipient to come back to Miami for at least a year after the stage - so that the city benefits from what they have sponsored.

For every $6,000 raised, another emerging talent will be awarded a scholarship. So, if $12,000 is raised, a cook and a pastry chef will get $6,000 each. If $18,000 is raised, then we can give a cook, a pastry chef and a Somm a scholarship - and so on, and so on.

Our goal for 2019 is simply to raise $6,000 so that one young man or young woman can go stage in 2020.


The Process

Scholarship applicants will be identified by local chefs and encouraged to submit an application with their vision for how they would use the scholarship monies.

Applications will be available on this website by mid September of 2019.

Those applications will be reviewed, discussed by a group of local chefs and a winner will be announced at a fund-raising pop-up dinner in early November of each year.