Women Chefs & Restaurateurs (WCR) today announced 38 recipients of its 2009 Scholarship and Internship Program.

Through the program, professional and student members of WCR not only are given the chance to travel abroad to such countries as China, France, Ireland, Italy and Mexico, they also gain professional skills and inspiration from local industry leaders who generously donate their time and resources to advance the professional development of women culinarians.

“WCR thanks our members and sponsors across the globe who so generously and graciously open their kitchens, restaurants, farms, schools and businesses in support of this program,” says Maureen Pothier, president of WCR and director of the culinary-arts program at Johnson & Wales University in Providence, R.I. “This support allows WCR to fulfill its mission by offering members invaluable educational opportunities.”

Despite the economic downturn, the program remains as vital and inspirational as ever, reflecting the generosity of sponsors and supporters, Pothier adds. Three sponsors, for example, increased their support in 2009 from previous years: The Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health in western Massachusetts, through its executive chef, Deborah Howard, is accepting two WCR scholarship recipients as interns; Chef’s Garden and the Culinary Vegetable Institute in Milan, Ohio, are accommodating three; and Nora Pouillon, executive chef and owner of Restaurant Nora in Washington, D.C., created four internship positions for WCR members.

WCR will introduce next year’s Scholarship and Internship Program at its 2009 national conference, Nov. 1-3 at The Ritz-Carlton, Washington, D.C.