Culinary News from The Culinary Institute of America

Two Leading Women Executives Speak at CIA Graduations

Sandy Solmon, founder and CEO of Sweet Street Desserts, with CIA President Tim Ryan.

Alice Elliot Delivers Keynote at Baccalaureate Commencement; Sandy Solmon Speaks to Associate Degree Graduates

Media Contact:

Jeff Levine
Communications Manager

Hyde Park, NY – The Culinary Institute of America wrapped up 2014 with two graduations at the college’s Hyde Park campus. A total of 190 students earned degrees during the ceremonies, receiving inspiration and advice from a pair of prominent hospitality executives. Alice Elliot, founder and CEO of the Elliot Group, spoke to 144 bachelor’s degree recipients on December 18. The following day, Sandy Solmon, founder, CEO, and chief innovator of Sweet Street Desserts, addressed 46 more students earning their associate degrees.

“The fact that you are graduating from this great school, you have already demonstrated your passion, your purpose, and your seriousness,” said Ms. Elliot, one of the nation’s foremost advisors in executive search, human resources, and leadership for the hospitality and foodservice industry. “Your ultimate roadmap to success and fulfillment is really going to be dependent upon your compass point and how you choose to follow it.”

Ms. Elliot was named one of the Nation’s Restaurant News 50 most powerful people in foodservice in 2014. She is an inductee into the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation’s College of Diplomates and a recipient of the Women Foodservice Forum’s Trailblazer Award and the Roundtable for Women in Foodservice’s Pacesetter Award.

Ms. Solmon offered similar advice to associate degree graduates on December 19. “There are many worlds of opportunity open to you as you develop confidence and your own language in the kitchen,” she said. “Listen to your gut instinct. Ignore people who doubt your abilities. Work harder than anyone expects of you, and embrace the moment that is thrown in front of you.”

Solmon’s Reading, PA-based company is the world’s largest manufacturer of frozen gourmet desserts. Sweet Street Desserts are sold to cafés, restaurants, hotels, and institutional and corporate food operations in 65 countries. Before entering the food world, Ms. Solmon was a photojournalist for The New York Times. She has been honored as one of Pennsylvania’s 50 Best Women in Business, received a Top Innovation Award from the Research Chefs Association, and been inducted into the Multi-Unit Foodservice Operators Supplier Hall of Fame.

The CIA holds three baccalaureate and 16 associate degree commencements at its Hyde Park campus each year. The ceremonies can be seen online.

Photo Captions and Hi-Res Images

Photo 1 (top photo): Alice Elliot, founder and CEO of the Elliot Group, delivered the keynote address at the baccalaureate commencement at The Culinary Institute of America on December 18, 2014. (Photo credits: Al Nowak/CIA)
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Photo 2: Sandy Solmon, founder and CEO of Sweet Street Desserts, with CIA President Tim Ryan at associate degree commencement exercises at The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY on December 19, 2014. (Photo credits: Al Nowak/CIA)
View hi-res image >

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, culinary science, and applied food studies, 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 47,000 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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