Culinary News from The Culinary Institute of America

CIA Student Earns Opportunity to Represent Team USA 2019

Commis Competition Leads to Stage with Team USA at French Laundry

Hyde Park, NY – A student at The Culinary Institute of America has won the Ment’or Commis competition in Las Vegas, NV, earning the opportunity to stage with Team USA 2019 as it prepares for the Bocuse d’Or in Lyon, France, the most prestigious gastronomic competition in the world.

Ethan Hodge, a senior in the college’s Bachelor’s in Food Business Management program, took first place, impressing the judges with his King Ōra Salmon Pavé, Green Leek Purée, Truffled Potatoes with Fines Herbes, Braised Fennel “Wing,” and Carrot and Mussel Emulsion with Smoked Salmon Roe.

“On behalf of the jury members and Ment’or, we congratulate the 2017 Commis competition winner, Chef Ethan Hodge,” said Chef Thomas Keller, president of Ment’or and a CIA Trustee. “This year’s competition featured a group of extremely talented young cooks, and Chef Hodge showed great determination, skill, and perseverance in pursuing this goal. His future is bright and we welcome him to Team USA as we prepare for the 2019 Bocuse d’Or.”

“It’s all very exciting. I get to stage for four weeks at The French Laundry,” said Ethan, 21. “The real victory for me is not just winning gold, but being able to join this family of great chefs and be a part of something bigger. To gain their respect, and to have this opportunity at such a young age, means a lot to me. And I couldn’t have done it without my chef mentors at the CIA.”

The college was well-represented at the competition. Four CIA students were among the six commis candidates selected by Ment’or, a nonprofit organization devoted to inspiring culinary excellence in young professionals. Joining Ethan were sophomores Sharon Hwang, Carson Moreland, and Madison Paras.

“We are tremendously proud of Ethan for his victory at the Ment’or Commis Competition,” said CIA President Dr. Tim Ryan. “It’s yet another testament to the talent of CIA students, and the leadership of our chef-instructors. Staging at The French Laundry is an invaluable experience Ethan will carry with him the rest of his life.”

The competition is modeled after the Bocuse d’Or, with each team featuring a selected protein—in this case salmon—and presenting the dish to a panel of chef jury members. Candidates were evaluated on excellence in overall taste, presentation, and kitchen organization.

Judges included CIA graduate Philip Tessier, who in 2015 led the American team to its first-ever medal, a silver, at the Bocuse d’Or. Chef Tessier was also head coach for Team USA’s historic gold-medal victory at the most recent Bocuse d’Or earlier this year. He is deeply involved in Ment’or, working alongside Chef Keller, famed chef Daniel Boulud, and fellow CIA graduate Jerome Bocuse to help prepare the best young talent in America for the privilege and honor of representing the United States in France.

Photo Caption and Hi-Res Image:

CIA senior Ethan Hodge with renowned chef Daniel Boulud (right) and Ment’or Executive Director Young Yun after winning the 2017 Ment’or Commis competition. (Photo credit: Bryan Steffy/Ment’or)
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Media Contact:

Jeff Levine
Communications Manager

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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