Danielle McNerney – 2019 Live Más Scholarship Recipient, Chopped Junior Champion, CEO of Save the Moms, Student at Urbana High School
As one of Taco Bell Foundation’s youngest scholarship recipients, Danielle McNerney’s list of accomplishments is already impressive and rapidly expanding. As an incoming senior in high school, Danielle has successfully launched her own small business, starred on (and won!) an episode of Chopped Junior, and was featured in the September 2019 issue of Food Network Magazine. Danielle credits her ambitious outlook on life to her parents, who are her biggest inspirations and supporters. In fact, Danielle’s parents are the reason she discovered her passion for cooking.
After her mom was diagnosed with cancer, Danielle’s family shifted their eating habits towards a healthier diet. Danielle’s parents were not fans of cooking, so she jumped at the opportunity to help. “My first dishes were very simple, and they weren’t that good. But I was fascinated with the creativity and joy cooking brought me. I discovered that healthy food doesn’t have to be bad. Don’t get me wrong, cauliflower pizza doesn’t replace regular pizza, but the challenge to make it taste just as delicious excites me. Being in the kitchen is where I am happiest.”
That joy stuck with her, even after her mother’s recovery. At the age of 8, Danielle began spending significant time honing her skills and techniques. Her love for cooking motivated her to help other young people discover a similar fascination in the kitchen. Danielle founded Save the Moms, a small business which uses recipe cards to teach kids and teens how to cook while sparking their culinary creativity. Since its development, Danielle has traveled to trade shows to expand the business, and is now looking to establish a social media presence for the company.
This summer, Danielle shared her passion for culinary arts with fellow Live Más Scholars as a guest speaker during the Live Más Scholarship Summer of Inspiration virtual conference! Working with professional chef Janet Bourbon of Cargill, the duo created a delicious recipe for Scholars to try at home!
As she enters her final year of high school, Danielle is looking into colleges that will best align with her academic goals. She is increasingly interested in the fields of communication and political science and hopes to be at the forefront of combating food inequality while continuing her passion for whipping up delicious meals.