Culinary News from The Culinary Institute of America

Renowned Chef/Entrepreneur Awarded Honorary Doctorate From His Alma Mater

Charlie Palmer Receives Honor as Son Earns CIA Degree

Hyde Park, NY – Acclaimed chef, restaurateur, hotelier, and entrepreneur Charlie Palmer—a 1979 graduate of The Culinary Institute of America—received an honorary doctorate from his alma mater while watching his son receive a diploma from the same college on April 13.

In bestowing the Doctor of Humane Letters honorary degree, CIA President Tim Ryan cited both Palmer’s “talent as chef and founder of the award-winning Charlie Palmer Group, one of the world’s most successful restaurant and hospitality companies” and his “astute business acumen supporting top restaurants and boutique hotels across the country.”

Palmer’s culinary and hospitality empire consists of more than a dozen restaurants, including his flagship Michelin-starred New York City restaurant Aureole, along with the Hotel Healdsburg and Lime Stone home and lifestyle store in California.

After receiving the honorary doctorate, Palmer said, “The CIA was the genesis of where I came from, and I’ve done pretty darn well, I think—way beyond my imagination of where I’d be and what I’d be.” He then advised the graduates, including Reed Palmer, “This school has prepared you to be the very best…You can be the greatest thing that’s ever happened to food in this country and this world. And, Reed, you still call me dad, not doctor.”

With an associate degree from the CIA in hand, Reed Palmer will now be heading to Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration to continue his studies through a partnership program between the two colleges.

In addition to the honor for Chef Palmer, the commencement was highlighted by a keynote address by CIA alumna Julia Collin Davison. Davison is executive food editor for the book division of America’s Test Kitchen and is co-host of the PBS television programs America’s Test Kitchen and Cook’s Country.

The entire CIA commencement ceremony, including the doctorate presentation and Davison’s address to 82 recipients of associate degrees in Culinary Arts and Baking & Pastry Arts, can be seen online.

Photo Caption and Hi-Res Image:

Dr. Tim Ryan (left), president of The Culinary Institute of America, presents an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree to chef and entrepreneur Charlie Palmer on April 13, 2018. Palmer, a 1979 CIA graduate, received the honor on the same day his son earned his associate degree at the college’s New York campus. (Photo credit: CIA/Phil Mansfield)
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Media Contact:

Jeff Levine
Communications Writer

About The Culinary Institute of America:

Founded in 1946, The Culinary Institute of America is the world’s premier culinary college. Dedicated to developing leaders in foodservice and hospitality, the independent, not-for-profit CIA offers bachelor’s degrees in management, culinary arts, culinary science, and applied food studies, and associate degrees in either culinary arts or baking and pastry arts. The college also offers executive education through its Food Business School along with certificate programs and courses for professionals and enthusiasts. Its conferences, leadership initiatives, and consulting services have made the CIA the think tank of the food industry and its worldwide network of nearly 50,000 alumni includes innovators in every area of the food business. The CIA has locations in New York, California, Texas, and Singapore.

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