Jacques Pépin Delivers Commencement Address, Receives Honorary Doctorate from The Culinary Institute of America

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Jeff Levine
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Hyde Park, NY – Famed chef and television personality Jacques Pépin was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from The Culinary Institute of America after delivering the commencement address at the college’s New York campus on May 22. Chef Pépin served as personal chef to three French presidents, including Charles de Gaulle, and his career in the United States ranged from cooking at some of the nation’s finest French restaurants, such as New York’s Le Pavillon, to being a trailblazing research and development chef for Howard Johnson’s.

“Today is your day,” Chef Pépin told recipients of associate degrees in culinary arts and baking and arts. “It is a time of hope; a time to believe in yourself; a time to dare, to be curious, to be enthusiastic, to be tenacious, and to be engaged. It is a time in your life where the word ‘impossible’ does not exist; a time to reach for the sky.”

Chef Pépin may be best known for the Emmy Award-winning television program with Julia Child, Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home. He has hosted several other award-winning cooking programs on PBS and his book, La Technique, was inducted into the James Beard Foundation’s Cookbook Hall of Fame in 1996. Jacques Pépin is a recipient of the Beard Foundation’s Lifetime Achievement Award and he earned the highest civilian honor bestowed by his native France, the Légion d’Honneur.

In bestowing the honorary doctorate, CIA President Dr. Tim Ryan cited Chef Pépin’s “lifelong commitment to excellence in cooking” and his “well-deserved status as an exemplar of the profession, having inspired legions to follow in your footsteps.”

The commencement was held on the college’s Founders’ Day, the anniversary of the school’s opening in New Haven, CT on May 22, 1946. The entire graduation ceremony can be seen online.

Photo Caption and Hi-Res Image

CIA President Tim Ryan outfits Jacques Pépin with a CIA chef jacket during commencement exercises at the college's New York campus on May 22, 2015. Chef Pépin received an honorary doctorate from The Culinary Institute of America after delivering the keynote address to graduates. (Photo credit: Al Nowak/CIA)
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Founded in 1946, The Culinary Institute of America is the world’s premier culinary college. Dedicated to driving leadership development for the foodservice and hospitality industry, the independent, not-for-profit CIA offers associate degrees in culinary arts and baking and pastry arts; bachelor’s degree majors in management, culinary science, and applied food studies; and executive education through its Food Business School. Its conferences and consulting services have made the CIA the think tank of the food industry in the areas of health & wellness, sustainability, world cuisines & cultures, and professional excellence & innovation. The college also offers certificate programs and courses for professionals and enthusiasts. Its worldwide network of 48,000 alumni includes leaders in every area of foodservice and hospitality. The CIA has campuses in New York, California, Texas, and Singapore.

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