A Stellar Gathering to Celebrate Women Chefs—The 2015 CIA Leadership Awards

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Jan Smyth
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j_smyth@culinary.edu

Hyde Park, NY – The Culinary Institute of America held its annual Leadership Awards event at the Milstein Hall of Ocean Life at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City on April 30. Celebrity chefs including Thomas Keller, Daniel Boulud, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, and Nancy Oakes, joined CEOs, culinary entrepreneurs, and food industry leaders who were part of a capacity crowd of 600. They were all there to support the theme of the evening—Celebrating Women—and applaud seven women chefs who received their Augie Awards.

Named in honor of French Chef Auguste Escoffier because of his constant pursuit of excellence, creativity, and professionalism, the 2015 Augie statues were presented to the following women who have been trailblazers and entrepreneurs, innovators and mentors:

  • Elena Arzak, Restaurant Arzak (San Sebastián, Spain)
  • Lidia Bastianich, Tavola Productions (New York City)
  • Dominique Crenn, Atelier Crenn (San Francisco, CA)
  • Susan Feniger ’77, Border Grill restaurants and truck, Mud Hen Tavern (Los Angeles, CA)
  • Barbara Lynch, Barbara Lynch Gruppo (Boston, MA)
  • Anne-Sophie Pic, Maison Pic (Valence, France)
  • Nancy Silverton, Mozza Restaurant Group (Los Angeles, CA)

Dr. Ryan opened the evening with a tribute to two other extraordinary women, Frances Roth and Katharine Angell, who, in 1946, had the vision to create what is now The Culinary Institute of America. Profiling several women graduates, including previous Augie honorees Melissa Kelly ’88 and Cat Cora ’95, he told the story of the development of the college from the 1946 class that included only one woman, to today, when the student body is 50 percent female. Dr. Ryan talked about the breadth and depth of educational options the college now offers—innovative new majors, a wider selection of concentrations, and expanded world-class facilities—“to ensure that future generations of talented women will serve as food industry leaders in the years to come.”

The Leadership Awards event is a major fund raiser for the CIA, with proceeds from sponsorships, donations, ticket sales, and an online auction all contributing to student scholarships. More than three dozen current CIA students were on hand to assist guest chefs, meet the honorees, and express their thanks for scholarship support. “This was one of the most dramatic, inspiring, and successful of all of our fund-raising events,” said Victor Gielisse, vice president of Advancement and Business Development, “Our seven honorees were gracious, humble, and provided true inspiration to the audience...and especially to the CIA students in attendance.”

The CIA Leadership Awards are made possible, in part, by the generous support of platinum sponsor Avocados From Mexico, gold sponsors Ecolab and POM Wonderful/Paramount Citrus/Wonderful Pistachios and Almonds, and dozens of other suppliers to the food and hospitality industries. For more photos and a look at some comments from the CIA Twitter feed (#AugieAward), please visit www.ciachef.edu/awards.


Photo Captions and Hi-Res Images:

Photo 1 (top photo): A capacity crowd of 600 food and foodservice industry leaders attended the 2015 Leadership Awards “Celebrating Women,” at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City in the at Milstein Hall of Ocean Life. The event is a major fund raiser for student scholarships at The Culinary Institute of America. (Photo credit CIA/Phil Mansfield)
View hi-res image >

Photo 2: Seven women chefs were presented with Augie Awards—named for French chef Auguste Escoffier—for their roles as trailblazers, entrepreneurs, innovators, and mentors at the CIA Leadership Awards. They are pictured here with CIA President Tim Ryan, left to right: Elena Arzak (Restaurant Arzak, Spain), Barbara Lynch (Barbara Lynch Gruppo, Boston), Susan Feniger ’77 (Border Grill restaurants and truck and Mud Hen Tavern, Los Angeles), Nancy Silverton (Mozza Restaurant Group, Los Angeles), Lidia Bastianich (Tavola Productions, New York City), Dominique Crenn (Atelier Crenn, San Francisco), and Anne-Sophie Pic (Maison Pic, France). (Photo credit CIA/Phil Mansfield)
View hi-res image >

Photo 3: These seven women chefs were honored with “Augies” at the 2015 CIA Leadership Awards event, left to right: Barbara Lynch (Barbara Lynch Gruppo, Boston), Anne-Sophie Pic (Maison Pic, France), Elena Arzak (Restaurant Arzak, Spain), Susan Feniger ’77 (Border Grill restaurants and truck and Mud Hen Tavern, Los Angeles), Nancy Silverton (Mozza Restaurant Group, Los Angeles), Dominique Crenn (Atelier Crenn, San Francisco), and Lidia Bastianich (Tavola Productions, New York City). (Photo credit CIA/Phil Mansfield)
View hi-res image >

Photo 4: The CIA’s Leadership Awards event is a major fund-raiser for student scholarships. This year, more than three dozen students were on hand to help the chefs, meet the honorees, and say “thank you” to all the attendees for their support. (Photo credit CIA/Kevin Paige)
View hi-res image >


Founded in 1946, The Culinary Institute of America is the world’s premier culinary college. Dedicated to driving leadership development for the foodservice and hospitality industry, the independent, not-for-profit CIA offers associate degrees in culinary arts and baking and pastry arts; bachelor’s degree majors in management, culinary science, and applied food studies; and executive education through its Food Business School. Its conferences and consulting services have made the CIA the think tank of the food industry in the areas of health & wellness, sustainability, world cuisines & cultures, and professional excellence & innovation. The college also offers certificate programs and courses for professionals and enthusiasts. Its worldwide network of 48,000 alumni includes leaders in every area of foodservice and hospitality. The CIA has campuses in New York, California, Texas, and Singapore.

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