Culinary News from The Culinary Institute of America

“Supermensch” Talent Manager Who Made Chefs Famous Speaks to Graduates

Hollywood Film Subject Shep Gordon Delivers Baccalaureate Address

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Jeff Levine
Communications Manager

Hyde Park, NY – Graduates of The Culinary Institute of America on July 23 heard from one of the most important names in the food world that people don’t know. Shep Gordon parlayed his skill as a Hollywood film agent into becoming a culinary talent manager—turning Wolfgang Puck, Emeril Lagasse, Paul Prudhomme, Dean Fearing ’78, and many more chefs into rock stars. Credited with creating the celebrity chef, Gordon revolutionized the restaurant business and turned food into a multi-billion-dollar industry.

Mr. Gordon spoke to 115 recipients of bachelor’s degrees in management, culinary science, and applied food studies at the college’s New York campus, challenging them to be givers and doers for the greater good.

“There are so many practical, easy steps you can take—given the power you are going to have—to be lighthouses in your community. Not just to feed people, but to bring awareness to problems,” Mr. Gordon said. “As you leave here, you’ll be presented with all sorts of opportunities to feed your neighbors. It’s your obligation. But trust me, you will feel really good about it.”

Before helping chefs becoming household names, he managed such diverse film and music stars as Groucho Marx, Raquel Welch, Alice Cooper, Luther Vandross, and Kenny Loggins. He was also an award-winning film producer, with hits like Kiss of the Spider Woman. His own life story was adapted for the big screen by actor/comedian Mike Myers in the 2014 film Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon. 

The entire graduation ceremony can be seen online.

Photo Caption and Hi-Res Image:

Shep Gordon, subject of the motion picture Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon, gives graduates of The Culinary Institute of America a congratulatory “thumbs up” after delivering the baccalaureate commencement address at the college's New York campus on July 23, 2015. (Photo credit: CIA/Phil Mansfield)
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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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