Two-Time Nominee for "Best Chef: NYC" Speaks at CIA Commencement

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Alex Lee Welcomes Associate Degree Graduates into the Food World

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Jeff Levine
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Hyde Park, NY – Alex Lee learned about fresh ingredients and balancing flavors from his Cantonese grandmother and about classical French cooking from celebrated chef Daniel Boulud. Lee shared the knowledge he gleaned from this successful combination during commencement ceremonies at The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in Hyde Park, NY, on Thursday, May 23.

"In this modern age of technology and computers, you get to work with your hands. You get to create. That's a wonderful thing," Chef Lee told 81 recipients of associate degrees in culinary arts and baking and pastry arts.

The Long Island native (Wantagh High School) has been executive chef at the Glen Oaks Club in Old Westbury, NY for 10 years. Earlier in his career, he worked for Chef Boulud at Le Cirque, then was part of the opening team for Boulud's Restaurant Daniel in 1992. While he was executive chef at Daniel, the restaurant earned a four-star review from The New York Times. Alex Lee was also twice nominated for a James Beard Foundation Award as Best Chef: New York City.

"You will now take your place with members of the culinary community," Chef Lee advised graduates. "Go forth, learn from others, and teach others."

He was previously at the CIA in 2012 as a judge for the Bocuse d'Or USA Commis Competition held at the college's Hyde Park campus.

The day before the CIA's associate degree graduation, 71 students received baccalaureate degrees in culinary arts management and baking and pastry arts management in a separate ceremony.

Photo Captions and Hi-Res Images

Photo 1: Alex Lee delivers the keynote address at associate degree commencement ceremonies at The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY on May 23, 2013. (Photo credit: CIA/Phil Mansfield)
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Photo 2: Chef Alex Lee congratulates graduates of The Culinary Institute of America after delivering the commencement address to associate degree recipients at the college's Hyde Park, NY campus on May 23, 2013. (Photo credit: CIA/Phil Mansfield)
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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, Roy Choi, Cat Cora, Dan Coudreaut, Steve Ells, Charlie Palmer, and Roy Yamaguchi. The CIA also offers courses for professionals and enthusiasts, as well as consulting services in support of innovation for the foodservice and hospitality industry. The college has campuses in Hyde Park, NY; St. Helena, CA; San Antonio, TX; and Singapore.

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