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By Breezh Nunez, Aug. 31, 2021

Hospitality management student Matthew Delaney was served with a $25,000 scholarship from Guy Fieri during Guy’s Restaurant Reboot on June 12 which was hosted by Fieri on Facebook Live. 

Delaney applied for the scholarship through the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) where he received an exciting offer to move forward with an interview. After undergoing several rounds of interviews with different departments of the NRAEF, Delaney was awarded the funds. 

According to the NRAEF website, Guy Fieri created the Restaurant Employee Relief Fund (RERF) to relieve the devastating effects COVID-19 left on the restaurant industry. Fieri used his platform to raise over $21.5 million in seven weeks to assist restaurant workers who were unemployed due to the pandemic. 

Delaney explained the hardship of not being able to interact with his community while working during the lockdown and what it meant to him being in the hospitality industry.

“I love having a dining room and being able to talk to the regulars that come in and having that stripped away was hard to get used to,” Delaney said.  “I think many love the hospitality industry because of the people and the interactions they get to have, so when it’s taken away it almost seems robotic.” 

Delaney explained that being a student in the culinary department is exciting for him and that he is proud to be a part of it at the Collins College.

“I have learned so much in my three years here and if given the chance to do it again, I would,” said Delaney. “It is an amazing program where I got the hands-on experience I needed to give me an edge on others entering the hospitality industry.” 

The hospitality college and resources offered at CPP equipped Delaney with leadership and hospitality skills. 

Delaney mentioned that he is grateful for his professors at CPP, as they have encouraged him to pursue his goals in the hospitality field. Furthermore, he is appreciative to have learned all the positions in a restaurant and what their tasks consist of.   

Delaney stated that although many chefs around the globe continuously inspire him for greatness, a few stand out to him for specific reasons. 

He explained that Chef Matt from Gary Danko’s, located in San Francisco, is someone he looks up to because of his down to Earth attitude and his willingness to give Delaney opportunities to see how a real restaurant works. 

Along with his inspiration from Chef Matt, Delaney said his biggest role model and friend was his high school culinary teacher, “Mr. Brandler,” who always pushed him to his highest potential. 

Delaney’s interest in the hospitality industry started in his early years and gradually increased through his personal experiences. Growing up Delaney moved around and lived in places like Florida and New Hampshire before residing in California. During his childhood he was captivated by his parents’ cooking and loved the creativeness of it. 

“I knew I wanted to do something in cooking when I was a kid. I would always see my dad make cool breakfast burritos and that was something I thought was so creative,” said Delaney. 

The shows he watched on the Food Network also sparked his interest in the cooking industry.

After Delaney finishes his degree, his next steps are to obtain a master’s degree in human resources. 

Within the next five years Delaney strives to begin the process of owning his own Chick-Fil-A by participating in their leadership program. Delaney explained that no other company he has been a part of treats their employees like Chick-Fil-A. Delaney’s positive experience has inspired him to give back to his community and be a motivating force to those around him. 

“During the pandemic they made sure to take care of us by going the extra mile. They would make sure we had snacks and incentives to make us want to come to work through those scary times,” said Delaney. “When there were fires outside, even before COVID, they would provide us with masks and protective gear to make sure we were safe and not breathing in anything harmful. Everything they do is about the people, and it starts with their employees.” 

Delaney’s scholarship gets him one step closer to whipping up a hot plate of success. With his community at mind, Delaney hopes to one day flourish in his career to serve kindness where he can.  

Featured image courtesy of Matthew Delaney. 

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