The James Beard Foundation Names the Inaugural Ten Recipients of the National Scholars Program


Thursday, August 18, 2016

Contact: Diane Stefani or Maggie Beaudouin


Twitter: @beardfoundation

The James Beard Foundation Names the Inaugural Ten Recipients of the National Scholars Program

New York, NY (August 18, 2016) – The James Beard Foundation (JBF) announced today the ten inaugural recipients of the JBF National Scholars Program. The new program awards $20,000 scholarships to ten candidates from across the U.S., who demonstrate the potential for leadership roles in culinary arts, food studies, agriculture, hospitality management, and related fields.

“We are proud that our Foundation’s newest scholarship program is committed to awarding $20,000 in financial aid to ten extraordinary scholars each year. A desire to pursue a career in the culinary arts is no longer limited to cooking in the kitchen,” said Kris Moon, vice president of the James Beard Foundation. “Just as the types of careers available in the culinary arts have evolved, so too is the Foundation’s scholarship program. The National Scholars Program supports a diverse group of students exploring virtually every educational discipline, whether that be history, anthropology, economics, management, or the sciences—as viewed through the lens of food.”

This year, and in each subsequent year, up to ten annual scholarships in the amount of $20,000 each will be granted. To ensure regional diversity, one awardee is selected from each of the ten geographic regions defined by the James Beard Foundation Awards *.


The 2016 JBF National Scholars Program recipients are:

1.       Allison Contillo (Northeast; Providence, Rhode Island): Contillo is currently in her second year of Science and Nutrition Studies at Johnson & Wales University, where she is studying to become a registered dietician.         

2.       Earlene Cruz (Mid-Atlantic; Union City, New Jersey): Cruz is studying Food Systems in pursuit of a Master’s Degree at NYU Steinhardt School to achieve her goal of developing an online experience of “sharing a meal” by Skype.               

3.       Holland Dougherty (West; Davis, California): Dougherty is at University of California, Davis, where she is completing her PhD in agriculture, specializing in animal studies.                 

4.       Katarina Dranchak (Great Lakes; Beavercreek, Ohio): Dranchak is a first-year undergraduate at Ohio State University, who aspires to be a dietitian.      

5.       Matthew Johnson (Midwest; Duluth, Minnesota): Johnson is completing his fourth year of culinary studies at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY. His goal is to find a job within food media – ideally creating an original culinary web series.

6.       Ysanne Latchman (Southeast; Fairburn, Georgia): Latchman anticipates graduating with her AOS in Culinary Arts from The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park. She hopes to one day have a private chef and catering company, and be a food & travel journalist.  

7.       Orlando Lima (Southwest; Austin, Texas): Lima is in his third year of studies at the Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts. He aspires to bring Angolan/Spanish influenced cuisine to the forefront of dining through his own world-class restaurant.

8.       Sarah Mckeen (New York City; Brooklyn, New York): McKeen has a Master’s degree from New York University’s Food Studies program and currently works for Heritage Radio. She wants to pursue a career in media that educates and inspires consumers to engage in a more equitable food system.     

9.       Jamey Sherman (Northwest; Nehalem, Oregon): Sherman currently attends Oregon Coast Culinary Institute with the goal of becoming a professional pastry chef.

10.   Sierra Torres (South; New Orleans, Louisiana): Torres plans to attend the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, with the goal of attaining a Bachelor’s degree in agriculture.     

The JBF National Scholars Program is a part of the larger James Beard Foundation Scholarship Program, which is awarding more than $750,000 in financial aid available in 2016, the largest annual total in the Foundation’s history.

Established in 1991, the scholarship program assists aspiring and established culinary professionals who plan to further their education at a licensed or accredited culinary school or hospitality institution, college, or university. In the past 25 years, the program has not only grown in visibility and financial scope, but in the breadth of subjects its recipients have embraced. As of 2016, the Foundation will have awarded over $6.5 million in financial aid to more than 1,800 recipients.            

The James Beard Foundation issued an open call for applications beginning on April 1, 2016, for the National Scholars Program. The application form captured information about each candidate including educational history, employment history, volunteer work and public service, professional goals, financial status, and special circumstances. Two letters of recommendation from employers or instructors were required as well as a short essay on a topic determined by the education committee of the JBF board of trustees.

The James Beard Foundation Scholarship Program is administered by the Scholarship Management Services division of Scholarship America, a nonprofit organization that has helped award scholarships to over one million students. Applications for scholarships are received and evaluated by Scholarship America. The applications of the finalists are then submitted to the James Beard Foundation’s Scholarship Selection Committee for final review.

To learn more about the JBF National Scholars Program and the James Beard Foundation Scholarship Program visit

* Great Lakes, Mid-Atlantic, Midwest, New York City, Northeast, Northwest, South, Southeast, Southwest, and West

About the James Beard Foundation (JBF)

Founded in 1986, the James Beard Foundation celebrates, nurtures, and honors America's diverse culinary heritage through programs that educate and inspire. A cookbook author and teacher with an encyclopedic knowledge about food, the late James Beard was a champion of American cuisine. He helped educate and mentor generations of professional chefs and food enthusiasts, instilling in them the value of wholesome, healthful, and delicious food. Today JBF continues in the same spirit by administering a number of diverse programs that include educational initiatives, food industry awards, scholarships for culinary students, publications, chef advocacy training, and thought-leader convening. The Foundation also maintains the historic James Beard House in New York City’s Greenwich Village as a “performance space” for visiting chefs. For more information, please visit Get food news, recipes, and more at the James Beard Foundation’s blog. Follow the James Beard Foundation on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and Pinterest.


Contact: Diane Stefani or Maggie Beaudouin


Twitter: @beardfoundation