TRAVERSE CITY — Whether it was as a Catholic Felician nun or as the co-founder of Chateau Chantal, Nadine Mary Begin was called to serve.

Now the Old Mission Peninsula winery is honoring her work with a scholarship. Begin died on Dec. 1, 2018 at the age of 86.

The Nadine Begin Culinary Classic Scholarship will annually award $2,500 toward tuition at the Great Lakes Culinary Institute. The term for the first scholarship is April 15, 2019 to March 15, 2020.

"Food and hospitality were her thing," Chateau Chantal President and Chief Executive Officer Marie-Chantal Dalese said of her mother. "This is a good way to honor her and also guide future students into that vein."

Begin joined the Felician Sisters at the age of 18 and earned her master's degree in home economics. She taught students for 22 years.

In 1970, she met a priest at St. Margaret Mary in Detroit. Robert and Nadine Begin eventually left their positions and were married on Oct. 4, 1974. The Begins bought land on Old Mission Peninsula in 1983 and began planting a vineyard. According to the Chateau Chantal website, the business was incorporated in 1991 and construction of a three-room bed and breakfast, winery and vineyard estates was completed in 1993.

Nadine Begin served guests for 10 years, working right alongside the culinary staff. So the scholarship was a chance to bring everything back to her mother's focus, Dalese said.

In return for making a one-year commitment and working 40-plus hours per week in-season and 10-25 hours in the offseason, the scholarship winner will receive $2,500 toward tuition (half in the beginning and half on completion), at-market compensation for hours worked and preferential consideration for a Chateau Chantal internship.

Dalese said Brian Lillie, the head of hospitality at Chateau Chantal, came up with the idea of the scholarship.

"We've been contemplating this for the past couple of years — how do we recruit and retain employees given we're so seasonal," she said.

Applicants must be enrolled full or part-time at the Great Lakes Culinary Institute, live in Antrim, Benzie, Grand Traverse, Leelanau, Kalkaska or Wexford counties, have completed 20 credits at GLCI and have a 2.5 minimum grade point average. According to a release, the other requirement is a "love of global cuisine and the thirst to learn about Michigan wine."

Chateau Chantal has several connections with the Great Lakes Culinary Institute. Dalese is on the Taste of Success Scholarship committee. Chef Mark Dunham is a GLCI graduate.

"It's another tool in the GLCI recruiter’s basket and for us it says we welcome GLCI and the quality of their students," Dalese said.

Applicants must submit a 2-to-4 page essay in 12-point font (Times New Roman), double-spaced, to the Nadine Begin Culinary Classic Scholarship committee by March 15.

The essay should answer the following questions:

— Why are you pursing a culinary degree?

— What are your goals?

— What opportunity would a Nadine Begin Culinary Classic Scholarship offer you?

Essays, the application, two letters of recommendation, a list of extracurricular activities and Northwestern Michigan College/GLCI transcripts can be submitted by mail (Chateau Chantal Winery, 15900 Rue de Vin, Traverse City, Michigan 49686), email (, or fax (231-223-4130).

To obtain an application, send an email to

Dalese said three finalists for the scholarship will be interviewed to select the winner. Dalese added selection will be made by a three-person committee that will include a representative from Chateau Chantal, one from the GLCI and Deb Ott, a longtime former employee in the culinary department at Chateau Chantal.

Business writer