Culinary News from The Culinary Institute of America

America’s Leading Ramen Chef Delivers CIA Commencement Address

Ivan Orkin Preaches Patience to Graduates at his Alma Mater

Hyde Park, NYIvan Orkin, chef and owner of Ivan Ramen, was the keynote speaker during commencement exercises at the New York campus of The Culinary Institute of America on November 30. During his address, he challenged new CIA graduates to not be impatient and to take the time to fine-tune the skills that will make them leaders and true chefs.

The 1993 CIA graduate is widely recognized as the leading American authority on ramen noodles and Japanese cuisine and culture. That journey began as a 15-year-old dishwasher at a sushi bar in his hometown of Syosset, NY. After graduating from the University of Colorado with a degree in Japanese language and literature, he moved to Japan to teach English. He returned to the U.S. and enrolled at the CIA to advance his culinary knowledge and skills, then moved back to Tokyo, where he opened the first Ivan Ramen. Chef Orkin quickly found success, despite being a foreigner specializing in one of Japan’s signature indigenous foods.

“There are many ways to find your place in this vast industry,” Chef Orkin told graduates. “You can practically choose to work in any restaurant that interests you. But will you be able to slow down enough that you hone your craft and really learn to cook?”

Chef Orkin brought his winning formula to New York City in 2013 with Ivan Ramen Slurp Shop and an Ivan Ramen restaurant. The restaurateur expanded to pizza with the 2017 opening of Corner Slice in New York’s Gotham West Market. He is the author of Ivan Ramen: Love, Obsession, and Recipes from Tokyo’s Most Unlikely Noodle Joint and the forthcoming The Gaijin Cookbook.

New York magazine named Ivan Orkin its Best New Chef in 2014, and Ivan Ramen in New York has been honored as Best New Restaurant by The New York Times, one of the Best Restaurants in New York by Condé Nast Traveler, and among GQ’s Best Restaurants in America. Corner Slice was named Best New Pizza in New York—no small feat—by both Gothamist and Eater.

The entire CIA commencement ceremony, including Chef Orkin’s address to recipients of associate degrees in Culinary Arts and Baking & Pastry Arts, can be seen online.

Photo Caption and Hi-Res Image:

Chef and restaurateur Ivan Orkin addresses graduates of The Culinary Institute of America on November 30, 2018, as CIA President Dr. Tim Ryan looks on. A CIA alumnus, Orkin is the owner of the highly successful Ivan Ramen restaurants in Tokyo and New York City. (Photo credit: CIA/Phil Mansfield)
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Media Contact:

Jeff Levine
Communications Writer

About The Culinary Institute of America:

Founded in 1946, The Culinary Institute of America is the world’s premier culinary college. Dedicated to developing leaders in foodservice and hospitality, the independent, not-for-profit CIA offers master’s, bachelor’s, and associate degrees with majors in culinary arts, baking & pastry arts, food business management, hospitality management, culinary science, and applied food studies. The college also offers executive education, certificate programs, and courses for professionals and enthusiasts. Its conferences, leadership initiatives, and consulting services have made the CIA the think tank of the food industry and its worldwide network of more than 50,000 alumni includes innovators in every area of the food world. The CIA has locations in New York, California, Texas, and Singapore.

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