2011 Senior Scholarship Winners

Since 2000, we’ve been committed to bringing our valued guests the highest quality food and service possible.  Incomparable produce, wonderful recipes, state of the art equipment, skilled cooks – we could name countless elements that go into the making of our uniquely delicious concept.  The service, well, that’s all largely a result of one main ingredient – the people.

Over the years, we’ve been graced with hundreds of young, energetic and exceptionally talented individuals from all over Southern California.  Many of them students, too, STONEFIRE Grill has always been a stepping stone toward further growth and development as they head to college and beyond.  We’re always so proud and excited to hear back from them years later, many of whom are on track to be doctors, teachers and other community leaders…and some of whom come straight back to help US improve what we do!

In an effort to honor our team members, we hold an annual Senior Scholarship Contest for those graduating and heading off to university.  Our goal here is simple – to give back to them.  With 57 having graduating this year alone, it was the least we could do to recognize their hard work.  The contest always revolves around an essay topic, and cash prizes are given to the top 3.  We’ve been overwhelmed by the response to this program, and this year was no different!

The prompt: “Think about a stereotype or long-held belief that you had before beginning your job at STONEFIRE Grill.  How has your experience at STONEFIRE Grill helped change or broaden your perspective?”

Here’s an excerpt from our 1st place winner, Makenna Breitenfeld (West Hills):

“In everyday life I am reserved and not especially open to new people. While working I was forced to change that about myself. Since I was constantly being approached by new people, it was impossible for me to avoid new situations. Getting a job forced me to confront this fear, and I am glad I did so while I was still young and in high school…Working at STONEFIRE Grill has broadened the expectations I have for myself. It has forced me to see my flaws, and provided me with methods to improve them. Although I am still not perfect, STONEFIRE is a major influence on my continuing maturation into a trusting and successful adult. I have learned that if given the opportunity, anyone, no matter their age, can dictate the outcome.”

Sophie Fink (West Hills), our 2nd place contestant, had this to say:

“…Like I had anticipated before I started working, I do walk around the restaurant being friendly and always sporting a smile.  How reality differs from my expectations is that I am actually happy, and my smile is genuine, not forced.  Working at STONEFIRE has not only taught me how to improve myself through teaching me necessary life skills about responsibility and maintaining a good attitude, but how to improve the lives of other people, if only by providing them with a pleasant dining experience.”

With so many wonderful entries, 3rd place came in as a tie between two team members, Thousand Oaks’ Leah Butler and Irvine’s Katherine DiPlacito.  Here’s a little bit from Leah’s essay:

STONEFIRE Grill has really opened my eyes to seeing what it looks like when you are working with a true team…The managers and fellow employees are a genuine group a good-hearted people with nothing but positivity and kindness to show towards each other. These traits are what make an individual something extraordinary. I will admit that having a lot of money, fame, or power is nice in a sense, but from working at STONEFIRE Grill, I have come to believe that molding an exceptionally well-rounded character is something to be much more cherished.”

Finally, Katherine sums it up better than we ever could:

“As my days increase in my white button-up shirt and black apron, I grow closer with this family; I trust these people, depend on them, and respect them. They not only shred my stereotype of a typical high school job, but blow it out of the water. I’ve begun to understand that a successful business is about the people who run it; the people who show up everyday to do their job and do it well, never forgetting a positive attitude. Although amazing food helps, it would not be possible without the cooks who show up at the crack-of-dawn to prepare food, the employees who work long hours despite going to school full-time, the managers who work 6 days a week to make sure everything runs smoothly, and the night crews who endlessly pick-up after us. No one here is for personal advancement, and favoritism is not an option, because at STONEFIRE Grill we are all part of a carefully calculated machine that needs every nut and bolt to keep providing the tremendous service it is known for.”

CONGRATULATIONS to this year’s four deserving winners, and best of luck to each of our seniors as they continue their journeys outside of our restaurants and into the many opportunities that await them!

Meet our 2014 Scholarship Winners!

Every year, we say goodbye to a few team members as they begin their journey out of the comforts of home and into their new lives as university students. In hopes to aid these young and promising Team Members, we host a STONEFIRE Grill scholarship contest.

We are proud to announce that of the 40 submissions, the following four individuals have written essays that really stood out to us. At STONEFIRE, we are so grateful for the hard work and dedication that our Team Members put into not only their work lives, but their personal ones as well.  Providing them with a small scholarship along the way is the least we can do for all that they have done to make a difference in the lives of those around them.

The following Team Members blew us away in describing what “Happy To Serve” means to them and how they will take this philosophy into their lives moving forward:

First Place: Lexis Rodriquez – Chatsworth

Second Place: Brooke Bayles – Thousand Oaks

Third Place: Jack Enssle – Irvine & Maral Manesh – Irvine

Lexis eloquently wrote:

Being a part of the STONEFIRE Grill family has taught me to embrace my longing to help others and to surround myself with people from a wide variety of backgrounds. I absolutely adore being around all different types of human beings, thus resulting in my decision to become a registered nurse. I am an individual that does not mind to put others needs before my own, especially when they are living a life filled with hardship. STONEFIRE Grill has been an immensely humbling experience that I will cherish and hold dear to my heart for years to come, and I take pride in wearing my “Happy to Serve” uniform, for I, without a doubt, wake up every morning, waiting to see whose life I can make just a bit easier. 


2013 SFG Scholarship Winners!

We tasked our graduating seniors with writing an essay that describes how they’ve incorporated “Happy to Serve” into both their work and personal lives. After receiving and reviewing well over 20 incredible essays, we narrowed it down to our four winners. Each of these winners embodies the concept of Happy to Serve and are great additions to our STONEFIRE team!

First Place: Taylor Yalem

 Good luck at American University, Taylor!

Taylor’s thoughts on how she is Happy to Serve:

“For me, “Happy to Serve” is a way of life that empower me with an unwavering positive attitude. It is a choice to always see the bright side of a situation, and a safeguard to make sure that I am always giving something to the world that I am proud of. “Happy to Serve” cannot be taught or told, and must originate as a genuine desire to always exceed expectation, no matter what the personal sacrifice.”

Second Place: Andy Stefan

 Good luck at LMU, Andy!

Third Place: Natalya Yonathan and Shayna Kudler

 Good luck at CSUN, Natalya!