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Rachael Ray Names Winners of “Cook Your Way to Culinary School” Scholarship Contest

Nick Capone, of the Morris County School of Technology, Takes Home $25,000 Grand Prize
Other finalists each win $5,000 scholarships to pursue their dreams of a career in the restaurant industry

WASHINGTON, DC – Tuesday, February 20, 2018 – Aspiring chef Nick Capone (17) is one step closer to making his dream of attending culinary school a reality. Capone, a senior at the Morris County School of Technology, from Denville, NJ, is the winner of Rachael Ray’s “Cook Your Way to Culinary School” competition and recipient of a $25,000 scholarship.
The runners-up, Jules Esposito, Alyssa Webster and Cloyce Martin, will each receive a $5,000 scholarship and Rachael Ray merchandise. All four finalists recently competed on the Rachael Ray Show and were required to show off their culinary talents by creating a dish in 40 minutes with only $40 to spend on ingredients they purchased from a local grocery store.
“Each and every one of these kids has an amazing story; they are all rockstars. They are truly amazing young people and their food is gorgeous!” said Rachael Ray, host of the Emmy-winning Rachael Ray Show and Founder of Yum-o!®, a nonprofit organization that empowers kids and their families to develop healthy relationships with food and cooking.

Finalist Profiles – watch their stories
Jules Esposito, an 18-year-old high school senior from Wallingford, CT, who has had her sights set on culinary school since the 2nd grade. She started a baking blog in middle school and is part of a culinary program that has allowed her to manage a food truck and cater events.
Alyssa Webster is a 17-year-old high school junior from Fresno, CA. Alyssa follows a restrictive diet because of an autoimmune disease, and hopes to pursue culinary education so she can open an allergen-free restaurant where others with food allergies and sensitivities can enjoy eating out.
Cloyce Martin, a 16-year-old high school junior from Villa Park, CA, studies culinary arts and is enrolled in the ProStart culinary arts and restaurant management program. He also works with a local French chef and had the opportunity to participate in summer apprenticeships at restaurants in France. 
The distribution and administration of the scholarship prizes provided by Rachael’s Yum-o! Organization will be coordinated with assistance from the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF), which is dedicated to training and advancing the next generation of culinary leaders.
The contest, launched in October 2017, attracted hundreds of submissions from all over the United States. Entrants were required to submit a video showing them preparing an original recipe dish and explaining why they feel they deserve to win the scholarship.
Click here to see clips of the competition, which aired on RACHAEL RAY on Friday, February 16.
About the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation:  As the philanthropic foundation of the National Restaurant Association, the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation’s mission of service to the public is dedicated to enhancing the industry’s training and education, career development and community engagement efforts. The NRAEF and its programs work to Attract, Empower and Advance today’s and tomorrow’s restaurant and foodservice workforce. NRAEF programs include: ProStart® – a high-school career and technical education program; Restaurant Ready – partnering with community based organizations to provide “opportunity youth” with skills training and job opportunities; Military – helping military servicemen and women transition their skills to restaurant and foodservice careers; Scholarships – financial assistance for students pursuing restaurant, foodservice and hospitality degrees; and, the Hospitality Sector Registered Apprenticeship project – a partnership with the American Hotel & Lodging Association providing a hospitality apprenticeship program for the industry. For more information on the NRAEF, visit
Jasmine Jones, NRAEF
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