The Culinary Institute of America's Seventh Annual Augie Awards

CIA Leadership Awards1-th
CIA Leadership Awards2-th

Focuses on Thought-Leadership Values and Why Food Matters

Media Contact:

Jan Stuebing Smyth
Marketing Manager—Industry Leadership & Advancement

Hyde Park, NY – The seventh annual Leadership Awards—the Augies—from The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) were presented to four individuals who exemplify, in spirit and deed, the CIA's four core value pillars:

  • Honored for his dedication to professional excellence and innovation: Daniel Humm, executive chef, Eleven Madison Park and The NoMad Hotel, New York City
  • Honored for creating restaurant menus that promote health and wellness: Clifford Pleau '81, corporate executive chef, Seasons 52, Orlando, FL
  • Honored for his contribution to the understanding of world cuisines and cultures: Rick Bayless, chef/owner, Frontera Grill, Topolobampo, and Xoco, Chicago, IL
  • Honored for his commitment to sustainability and food ethics: Walter Robb, co-CEO, Whole Foods Market, Austin, TX

Created in honor of famed French chef Auguste Escoffier, the Augie Awards celebrate success and achievement of the foodservice industry's best chefs, visionaries, and entrepreneurs. Augie recipients exemplify a tradition of innovation and leadership.

The event took place at the Grand Hyatt in New York City, where the ballroom was filled with nearly 400 attendees—including past CIA graduates Steve Ells, David Burke, Alex Stupak, and Charlie Palmer. Throughout the program, videos by students and the honorees and a presentation from CIA President Dr. Tim Ryan, proclaimed the theme of the event, Food Matters. In his opening remarks, Dr. Ryan declared, "Not only is food part of everyone's traditions and family celebrations—it is a bridge to other cultures; it fosters understanding among the people of the world, it nourishes the body and the soul, and it inspires innovation, excellence, and creativity." All the videos are available for viewing on the CIA Network on YouTube in the Special Events playlist.

Each honoree had advice for the 30 CIA students who were assisting at the celebration and the entire of the student body, many of whom followed the program on Twitter.

  • Daniel Humm discussed how he finds inspiration through the music of the great jazz innovator, Miles Davis, and abstract expressionist artist Willem de Kooning. Davis pushed the envelope and charted new territory with every album, and de Kooning said, "I have to change to stay the same," a sentiment Chef Humm has taken to heart.
  • Cliff Pleau told the audience that his vision for a restaurant like Seasons 52 began early in his career, but it took nearly 20 years to come true. He spent a lot of time practicing "culinary imagineering," and over the years, collaboration and risk-taking became as important to his success as his commitment to helping Americans eat more mindfully.
  • Rick Bayless took a different path on the way to earning his PhD in anthropological linguistics. Food was his passion. "With one bite of a dish," says Chef Bayless, "and sometimes just a look at the dish, you can tell you reams of things about a culture, its history, its agriculture, and its people."
  • Walter Robb quoted author and academic Wendell Berry several times in his remarks about sustainability. He sees 100 percent transparency in the future of food, with stores and restaurants providing complete information about how food is grown, made, and transported.

As Dr. Ryan noted, "Each honoree was presented his Augie in the name of just one of our thought-leadership pillars, but they are all committed to all of the pillars. The role of today's chefs and food professionals is not only about flavor development and pleasing customers. Chefs must be socially responsible citizens of the world, and it is our job and our privilege at the CIA to train them with that goal in mind."

All proceeds from the Leadership Awards dinner support CIA student scholarships. Over $49,000 were raised through the live auction alone.

Photo Captions and Hi-Res Images

Photo 1: At a panel discussion prior to the 2013 Leadership Awards, each of the Augie honorees offered advice to over two dozen CIA students in the audience and hundreds more following the conversation on Twitter. Pictured, left to right, are Daniel Humm, Clifford Pleau, Rick Bayless, Walter Robb, and Tim Ryan. (Photo credit: CIA/Phil Mansfield)
View hi-res image >

Photo 2: The 2013 Augie Award winners pose with Tim Ryan (center). They are, left to right, Walter Robb, Daniel Humm, Clifford Pleau, and Rick Bayless. (Photo credit: CIA/Phil Mansfield)
View hi-res image >

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, Cat Cora, Steve Ells, Charlie Palmer, and Roy Yamaguchi. The college has campuses in Hyde Park, NY; St. Helena, CA; San Antonio, TX; and Singapore.

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