The Culinary Institute of America

Unique Culinary Presentation Highlights Thomas Keller Day

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Iconic Chef Leads Top Staff, Purveyors, and Protégés in Sense of Urgency

Media Contact:

Jeff Levine
Communications Manager
845-451-1372
j_levine@culinary.edu

Hyde Park, NY – Expecting a cooking demonstration from one of the world's greatest chefs, students at The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) instead were treated to something completely different from Thomas Keller on Monday, May 13.

The college hosted Thomas Keller Day at its Hyde Park campus with a keynote address from Chef Keller and breakout sessions covering various restaurant business topics. The day was scheduled to conclude with a "culinary presentation." Instead of a traditional demo, Chef Keller made his stage debut, leading top staff members from his celebrated restaurants including Eli Kaimeh '00 of Per Se, purveyors, and celebrated protégés such as Grant Achatz '94 and Jonathan Benno '93 in a one-act play.

"You often hear it said that restaurants are like theater, with a front of the house, a behind-the-scenes crew, a colorful cast of characters, a creative script," Chef Keller said. "Today we thought we'd take it literally."

Sense of Urgency was the result—a performance developed by Keller's team that portrays an evening of service at The French Laundry in Yountville, CA and named for the wording on a plaque that hangs under the kitchen clocks in all of Chef Keller's restaurants. The French Laundry is a Michelin Guide three-star restaurant that was honored as the World's Best Restaurant by UK-based Restaurant magazine in 2003. "We observe the process of execution and the importance of relationships between the purveyors, farmers, and craftsmen of the products these chefs will use to serve their guests," explains the Playbill.

Close to 1,000 CIA students attended the performance and hundreds more participated in the earlier presentation and breakout sessions, which were simulcast to the college's campuses in Texas and California. Twenty lucky students were selected to have lunch with Chef Keller.


Photo Captions and Hi-Res Images

Photos 1–4: The performance of Sense of Urgency by Chef Thomas Keller with his top staff, protégés, and purveyors at The Culinary Institute of America on May 13, 2013. (Photo credit: CIA/Phil Mansfield)
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Photo 5: Curtain call at the conclusion of Sense of Urgency, a one-act play by Chef Thomas Keller, held at The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY on May 13, 2013. (Photo credit: CIA/Phil Mansfield)
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Photo 6: Twenty CIA students won a lottery to have lunch with Chef Keller during Thomas Keller Day at the college's Hyde Park, NY campus on May 13, 2013. (Photo credit: CIA/Phil Mansfield)
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Photo 7: Purveyor roundtable breakout session during Thomas Keller Day at The Culinary Institute of America was moderated by Jonathan Benno '93 (far right), executive chef of Lincoln Ristorante in New York City, and featured Rick and Michael Mast of Mast Brothers Chocolate (left). (Photo credit: CIA/Phil Mansfield)
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Photo 8: Grant Achatz '94 chats with CIA students following his breakout session "From Kitchen to Restaurateur," during Thomas Keller Day at The Culinary Institute of America, May 13, 2013. (Photo credit: CIA/Phil Mansfield)
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Photo 9: Playbill for Sense of Urgency, a one-act play by Thomas Keller—featuring Grant Achatz, Jonathan Beno, and others—that debuted at The Culinary Institute of America during Thomas Keller Day at the college's Hyde Park, NY campus on May 13, 2013. (Photo credit: CIA/Phil Mansfield)
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Founded in 1946, The Culinary Institute of America is an independent, not-for-profit college offering associate and bachelor's degrees with majors in culinary arts, baking and pastry arts, and culinary science, as well as certificate programs in culinary arts and wine and beverage studies. As the world's premier culinary college, the CIA provides thought leadership in the areas of health & wellness, sustainability, and world cuisines & cultures through research and conferences. The CIA has a network of 45,000 alumni that includes industry leaders such as Grant Achatz, Anthony Bourdain, Roy Choi, Cat Cora, Dan Coudreaut, Steve Ells, Johnny Iuzzini, Charlie Palmer, and Roy Yamaguchi. The CIA also offers courses for professionals and enthusiasts, as well as consulting services in support of innovation for the foodservice and hospitality industry. The college has campuses in Hyde Park, NY; St. Helena, CA; San Antonio, TX; and Singapore.

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