Dalis Lund

Dalis Lund

March 23, 2015

Dalis Lund was awarded the If Given a Chance Scholarship during her senior year of high school. Since then, she has been working in kitchens building experience and saving up for school. Dalis is now seven months into the professional program at Napa Valley Cooking School. She was recently asked to speak to a group of high school students about her experience putting to use the award she received two years ago. Read an interview with Dalis below.

How did you hear about this scholarship opportunity?

I heard of this scholarship though my high school mentor. She also nominated me for this award. I applied in the beginning of my senior year of high school. The application process was intense. By saying that I am referring to the personal essay every nominee had to write about how we overcame our difficulties in life, most importantly, how that impacted us, how it made who we are today. We also had to demonstrate goals and explain how we would use the scholarship.

How has this scholarship impacted your academic life?

If Given a Chance has impacted me in many ways. Not only have they "given me a chance" but they gave me a family as well. Board members, alumni and applicants have become this amazing If Given a Chance family. We all care about each other and look out for one another, that is why I love and appreciate this foundation so much. On another note, they gave me the chance to follow my dream in becoming a chef. I’ve gone through financial difficulties that held me back from going to culinary school. However, the week I was awarded my scholarship I didn’t hesitate to contact Maggie Noble at the Napa Valley Cooking School in Saint Helena for an application! I am now attending the NVCS with my head held high and my graduation date set in October 2015.

What is your advice to young people who want to pursue a professional culinary education?

Do your research. Go stage in a kitchen for a day or two. Make sure this is the path you are willing to take. Being in the culinary world is competitive and a battle every single day. Be the generation that changes the outlook on the kitchen. Be competitive and bold but be kind to one another. Above all, enjoy what you make! Your food is yourself on a plate. Study hard as if you have a test tomorrow. Learn something new every day and repeat it back to yourself until you get it down. Attending the NVCS is the best culinary choice I’ve made, yet. They have opened up new possibilities for my culinary career and made me a better chef! Keep your head down and let your food do the talking. Work hard in silence; let your success make the noise.