We chose to divide the $2,500 scholarship funds earmarked for Washburne between two worthy and financially needy candidates—Arianne Kendrick and Tania Merlos Ruiz. Each will receive $1,250 from LDE Chicago Chapter.
Arianne Kendrick has no apparent family income, is single and has one dependant. Her essay was heartbreakingly honest and well written. She impressed us with her candid nature, her devotion to her chosen field, her belief in herself to succeed, and her gratefulness to those who have helped her along the way. She wants to learn everything she can about the culinary industry. Arianne works very hard, achieves small goals she sets for herself, and also has a huge desire to someday give back to others like herself who had to overcome obstacles to make something of themselves.
Tania Merlos Ruiz is married and the proud mother of a six year old son. Her family income is under $11,000 annually. Tania is the fourth child of Guatemalan immigrants and was first exposed to the food industry at her parent’s taco stand. She is extremely family-focused, particularly with her son, and, unfortunately, has had to endure the passing of both her parents. Tania’s mother’s long illness with stomach cancer opened her eyes regarding the link between culinary nuturing, nutrition, and providing for healthy lifestyles. She is passionate in her thirst for culinary education and has a strong work ethic. Her recommendations are glowing with regard to her abilities and dedication. At this time, she sees catering as her career goal. She catered the Adelante fundraising event held at the Mexican Fine Arts Museum and has developed a resume for volunteer projects. She is a member of the American Culinary Federation Windy City Chapter.
Kendall College’s Jia (Emma) Mei was the most focused on her career of all Kendall candidates. We feel that she will make an outstanding recipient of this year’s award, and will actively participate in our mentoring opportunities. We are going to award her the full $2,500.00.Emma immigrated to our country from China at the age of two. She has strong ties to the Chinese culture and food; evident by the fact that she has been making her own family’s meals since the age of twelve. Gallery 37 helped to provide a strong foundation for her love of cooking during high school, and it was there that Emma began to hone her skills and speed for “Asian Fusion Cuisine.” She realizes there is a lot to learn in the world of food, and upon graduation she plans to travel to Spain, Italy or China. After returning home to the US, she will work for several chefs before attempting to open her own restaurant; which will be a mixture of fine dining and family food “where everyone can eat.”