Culinary News from The Culinary Institute of America

Ken Conrad and Elizabeth Falkner Deliver Graduation Addresses

Chef Elizabeth Falkner speaking to associate degree recipients

National Restaurant Association Chairman Speaks to Baccalaureate Candidates; TV Chef Advises Associate Degree Graduates

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Jeff Levine
Communications Manager

Hyde Park, NY – Ken Conrad, chairman of the National Restaurant Association, advised bachelor’s degree candidates at The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) to believe in themselves, and chef and television personality Elizabeth Falkner told those graduating with associate degrees that there are many roads to success. In two ceremonies on July 24 and 25 at the college’s Hyde Park campus, 182 CIA students earned their diplomas.

“I believe in you; the faculty at The Culinary Institute of America believes in you; your family believes in you; but most of all, you have to believe in yourself,” Conrad told 121 graduates earning degrees in management and culinary science.

In addition to serving as chair of the world’s largest foodservice trade association, Conrad is chairman of North Carolina’s Libby Hill Seafood Restaurants. “The restaurant industry will give you a pathway to the American dream,” he said. “But you’ll have to work for your success, doing something you truly love. And if you do what you love, you’ll never be bored a day in your life.”

Falkner earned a James Beard Foundation nomination as Pastry Chef of the Year in 2005 while at the same time receiving accolades for her work behind the stove on the culinary side. She has competed on the Food Network’s Next Iron Chef, Iron Chef America, and Food Network Challenge, as well as Bravo’s Top Chef Masters; and been a judge for Top Chef, Top Chef Masters, and Top Chef Just Desserts.

“Your 15 minutes of fame are going to happen,” Falkner told 61 recipients of degrees in culinary arts and baking and pastry arts. “Don’t worry about getting famous right now. Keep focused and work on your skills and your craft and honing the art of cooking. Then you will get the attention you deserve.”

In 2012, she won first prize at the World Pizza Championships in Naples, Italy.

“There are so many roads to travel with food,” she said. “Our food world is changing and morphing. There are many more options for involvement within the industry and it’s not always about Michelin stars and Yelp reviews.”

Photo Captions and Hi-Res Images

Photo 1 (top photo): National Restaurant Association Chairman Ken Conrad (right) with CIA President Tim Ryan at The Culinary Institute of America's baccalaureate commencement on July 24, 2014. (Photo credit: Al Nowak/CIA)
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Photo 2: Chef Elizabeth Falkner speaking to associate degree recipients at commencement at The Culinary Institute of America's Hyde Park campus on July 25, 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, 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, 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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