Amanda Freitag Delivers Commencement Address at CIA

Amanda Freitag
Amanda Freitag Smiling

Celebrity Chef Returns to Her Alma Mater

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Jeff Levine
Communications Manager

Hyde Park, NYAmanda Freitag, an executive chef and television personality, returned to her alma mater to deliver the commencement address at The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in Hyde Park, NY on Friday, June 14, 2013. Freitag told 71 recipients of associate degrees in culinary arts and baking and pastry arts to constantly challenge themselves and embrace their passion for food and cooking.

"It took a little bit of luck and a lot of hard work to get where I am after more than 20 years. But I wouldn't change anything to get a quicker result," said Freitag, who has become a celebrity after competing on the Food Network programs Iron Chef America and The Next Iron Chef and serving as a judge on Chopped.

After graduating from the CIA in 1989, Chef Freitag worked for Jean-Georges Vongerichten at Vong and was mentored by Diane Forley at Verbena in New York City before broadening her horizons with a short stint at L'Arpège in Paris under Alain Passard.

Following successful runs as executive chef at Gusto and The Harrison in New York City, Chef Freitag is now preparing to open her own restaurant—the fulfillment of a lifelong goal. She is also working on her first cookbook.

"You're going to go out in the world and everyone will know you are a CIA graduate. Remember what your chefs taught you about the importance of mise en place and that preparation is everything," Freitag advised the newest group of CIA alumni.

Photo Captions and Hi-Res Images

Photo 1: Amanda Freitag '89 applauds for the newest class of graduates of The Culinary Institute of America after delivering the commencement address at the college's Hyde Park campus on June 14, 2013. (Photo credits: CIA/Phil Mansfield)
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Photo 2: Executive chef and television personality Amanda Freitag, a 1989 graduate of The Culinary Institute of America, enjoying the commencement ceremony at her alma mater on June 14, 2013. Chef Freitag delivered the keynote address to 71 graduates at the CIA's Hyde Park campus. (Photo credits: 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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