Union League Club of Chicago Executive Chef Speaks at CIA Graduation

Michael Garbin-th

Michael Garbin '76 Tells Newest Fellow Alumni that Every Guest is Special

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Jeff Levine
Communications Manager

Hyde Park, NY – Michael Garbin, executive chef at the swanky Union League Club of Chicago, reminded graduates at his alma mater that every guest they will serve during their career is a VIP. Garbin was the commencement speaker at The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in Hyde Park, NY on Friday, March 22, 2013.

"I have met and cooked for presidents and vice presidents, members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, admirals and generals, senators and congressmen, and members of the Supreme Court. But the most important people we cook for every day are our members and guests," Chef Garbin told 79 recipients of associate degrees in culinary arts and baking and pastry arts. "Remember, you are in the hospitality industry. Personal and special touches are your tipping points for success."

Garbin has been directing culinary operations for the Union League Club's meeting rooms, guest rooms, and three restaurants for the past 21 years. The Club was named the best private city club in the country in 2009 by Club Leaders Forum.

Almost 37 years after graduating, Garbin says he still uses both the culinary skills and life lessons he learned from his CIA instructors. "Although I've cooked in a lot of places and had many great experiences, I really never left," he told the new graduates. He then advised them to "build your network and don't lose touch. Most of all, look for ways to give back."

Garbin, 59, is a Certified Executive Chef and a member of the American Culinary Federation's honor society, the American Academy of Chefs (AAC). He has earned a Silver Plate Award from the International Foodservice Manufacturers Association and the AAC's Sharing Culinary Traditions Award. Chef Garbin is also a member of the Honorable Order of the Golden Toque, in recognition of his "lifetime dedication to the pursuit of excellence in the culinary arts."

Photo Caption:

Michael Garbin '76 speaking to graduates at The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY on March 22, 2013. (Photo credit: CIA/Phil Mansfield)

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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