Syrena Johnson never thought anyone evaluating scholarship applicants would even give her a second look. That all changed in the summer of 2011, though, when the New Orleans native received the first-ever Chefs Move! Culinary Scholarship.
The scholarship paid for room and board, a laptop and 9 months at the International Culinary Center in New York City, where Johnson learned from some of the greatest chefs in the world. While in New Orleans, she also trained under chef and TV personality John Besh.
“It sounded too good to be true,” Johnson told a crowd at Underground 119 March 3.
“I was just like, ‘Nah–I couldn’t possibly win that,” Johnson said. “Everybody from Liberty’s Kitchen was like, ‘Come, Syrena, you really have to do this. You have a chance.”
Johnson applied. She didn’t really believe she had a chance until she made it to the second round of the selection process. One round and an interview with Besh later, Johnson had a scholarship to one of the best culinary schools in the country.
Everyone at Liberty’s Kitchen is proud of Syrena’s amazing success!