Cooking Up Joy Annual Scholarship

Cooking Up Joy Scholarship

Please contact [email protected] with any and all questions related to the scholarship.

Through the good times and the bad times, there’s one thing that binds us all: delicious food. Nutritious meals fill a basic human need while also providing opportunities for socialization and interaction. Like the recipes themselves, which combine a mixture of different ingredients, food can bring a mixture of different people from all walks of life together.

At Budget Branders, we wholeheartedly believe in the power of food. It’s the reason we got into the business of serving restaurants, bars, and coffee shops with custom disposable takeout products. We know food can provide joy, comfort, connection, healing, and so much more. We also know restaurants form the backbone of communities – acting as a social gathering place and a second home. We wanted to play our small role in helping to build that backbone and support the distribution of really good food. 

While chef prepared food is undisputedly delicious, we know you’d run your wallet thin if you ate out every night. Building a connection to food via home cooked meals is equally as important as appreciating a meal from a local restaurant. That is why we started the annual Cooking Up Joy Scholarship. We wanted to inspire students to build healthy cooking habits and find their own sense of joy and connection to food that we found years ago. 

Cooking Up Joy Scholarship Overview

The Cooking Up Joy Scholarship is an annual $1,000 scholarship created with the purpose of inspiring students to dedicate more time and effort into daily meals and develop a long-lasting relationship and connection to food. We know food provides joy and we know that is something that’s desperately needed right now. We want to see what kind of joy students can cook up. 

Students are asked to cook an item of their choosing and put their own creative spin on the item. Students will need to take a picture of what they cook along with a write up that includes their ingredients and cooking directions along with an explanation on why they chose the item they did. There is no minimum required length on the writeup and there is no limitation as to what can be cooked. You could cook or bake: 

  • A full meal
  • An appetizer
  • A side dish
  • A dessert
  • And more

You do not need to mail us your cooked item, nor would we like you to (it will not be edible by the time it is received). We only need a photo of the item you cooked. Plates will be judged based on plate presentation, creativity, and the level of care and detail added to the writeup.

Eligibility & Requirements

The Cooking Up Joy Scholarship is open to all US citizens entering or attending a university, college, or trade school in the United States as a full-time student. You do not have to be a culinary student to apply. This scholarship is open to students of any and every major, as well as, both undergraduate and graduate students. Applicants must maintain a GPA of 3.0 or above to be eligible. In addition to submitting a plate, students will also need to submit a completed scholarship application form. The following materials should be submitted to [email protected] by August 31st. 

  • A completed scholarship application form
  • A photo of the prepared item
  • A description of the item along with why the specific plate was chosen, the ingredients, and instructions
  • A certified copy of the student’s transcript


  • The recipient of the Cooking Up Joy Scholarship will receive $1,000 to be used for school tuition and related educational expenses.
  • The $1,000 check will be made payable to the recipient’s school. 
  • The application period for the scholarship ends August 31st. The winning recipient will be notified via email by September 30th. 
  • By accepting the scholarship award, the recipient grants Budget Branders the rights to use the submission content, the recipient’s name, the recipient’s school, and/or any pictures of the above on the company’s website and any other marketing materials.

Scholarship Deadline

As a reminder, all scholarship materials must be emailed to [email protected] no later than August 31st. Any submissions received after August 31st will not be considered.

Meet Our 2021 Scholarship Winner

Brigid Curran

Brigid Curran is this year’s annual Cooking Up Joy scholarship winner. Brigid is a film and television major at DePaul University. Brigid channeled her love for film to create an elegant matcha brownie recipe inspired by award-winning filmmaker, Wes Anderson. 

During the COVID-19 lockdowns of 2020, Brigid felt stressed and began to question her major. In an attempt to quiet her existential woes, she spent time watching Wes Anderson movies. The bright colors and puffy pastries featured in many of Anderson’s films brought Brigid comfort. One day at a local coffee shop Brigid decided to infuse some color into her own life. She tried a matcha latte and fell in love with the matcha flavor. 

Brigid decided to create a brownie recipe infused with matcha for the Cooking Up Joy scholarship, because it combines flavors and styles that provide her with joy. Brigid has shared her recipe with Budget Branders. You can make Brigid’s matcha brownies with this recipe here. Hopefully they provide you as much joy as they’ve provided her.

Contact Us

[email protected]
4070 Valley Vista Dr. #301
Hudsonville, MI 49426

Support Hours

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Phone Hours: 10AM-8PM EST (Monday-Friday)