New York City Chef-Restaurateur Frank Crispo Addresses Graduates

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Jeff Levine
Communications Manager

Hyde Park, NY – Frank Crispo, chef and owner of Crispo Restaurant in Manhattan’s West Village, provided practical advice to new graduates of The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) on Friday, September 5, 2014. The 1980 CIA graduate returned to his alma mater’s Hyde Park, NY campus as commencement speaker.

“Do not wait to become a chef to hold yourself accountable as a chef,” Crispo told 58 recipients of associate degrees in culinary arts and baking and pastry arts. “Learn to listen to your customers. Flexibility is a strength, not a weakness. After all, they pay the bills.”

Chef Crispo further advised the graduating students to learn from contractors, electricians, plumbers, dishwashers, and computer techs, because fixing mechanical problems themselves will save their business money. He also told them to have a shareholding agreement in place if entering into a business partnership.

After graduating from the CIA, the Philadelphia area native continued to learn under legendary chefs Jean-Jacques Rachou and Roger Vergé in New York City. Among his co-workers at Vergé’s Polo Restaurant were fellow rising stars Daniel Boulud and Thomas Keller. In the mid-1980s, Chef Crispo returned to Philadelphia to cook at DiLullo Centro.

Back in New York in 2002, he opened a neighborhood Italian restaurant on West 14th Street. Crispo Restaurant was soon named Best New Restaurant in New York City by Time Out magazine, and remains popular 12 years later.

Photo Caption and Hi-Res Image

Chef Frank Crispo (wearing green cordon) shares a laugh with President Tim Ryan (left) and CIA faculty during commencement ceremonies at The Culinary Institute of America's Hyde Park campus on September 5, 2014. (Photo credit: Al Nowak/CIA)
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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, applied food studies, 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 46,000 alumni that includes industry leaders such as Grant Achatz, Anthony Bourdain, Roy Choi, Cat Cora, Dan Coudreaut, Steve Ells, Johnny Iuzzini, 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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