Culinary News from The Culinary Institute of America

Acclaimed Swedish Chef—No, Not That One—Delivers Commencement Address

Emma Bengtsson Speaks to CIA Graduating Class

Hyde Park, NY – Emma Bengtsson is proof that a genuine Swedish chef is not a singing, cleaver-wielding Muppet. Bengtsson, executive chef at New York City’s famous Nordic restaurant Aquavit, was commencement speaker at the New York campus of The Culinary Institute of America on July 6. Bengtsson is the second female chef in the United States to run a two-Michelin-star kitchen, and first-ever female Swedish chef with two stars in the Michelin Guide.

“You are all sitting here because there was something calling you. You needed to do something with your hands and with your mind to create something,” Bengtsson told the newest CIA graduates. “Never stop thinking about new ways and new ideas on how you can take what you learned and push it forward.”

After growing up in a small town on the west coast of her native country, Chef Bengtsson enrolled in a hotel and restaurant school in Stockholm and worked in some of that city’s finest restaurants. She was recruited by the former executive chef at Aquavit to come to New York and join the restaurant as the pastry chef in 2010. Four years later, Bengtsson was promoted to executive chef.

Her culinary style has earned the restaurant a three-star review in The New York Times. This year, she was both a semifinalist for the James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef: New York City and named among the city’s Top Women Chefs by Forbes magazine.

The entire CIA commencement ceremony, including Chef Bengtsson’s address to recipients of associate degrees in baking & pastry arts and culinary arts, can be seen online.

Photo Caption and Hi-Res Image:

Chef Emma Bengtsson congratulates a graduate during commencement ceremonies at The Culinary Institute of America on July 6, 2018. (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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