Culinary News from The Culinary Institute of America

Beard Award Winner Jennifer Jasinski Delivers Commencement Address at CIA

Successful Denver Chef-Restaurateur Returns to her Alma Mater

Hyde Park, NY – Jennifer Jasinski, chef and owner of five acclaimed Denver restaurants, spoke to graduates at the New York campus of The Culinary Institute of America on June 14. The 1989 CIA graduate is the first Denver chef to win the James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef: Southwest.

“The word ‘chef’ describes someone who is proficient at the culinary arts and cooking, but it also describes a chief and a leader,” Jasinski told recipients of associate degrees in Culinary Arts and Baking & Pastry Arts. “The leadership aspect of our job is the defining characteristic between good and great chefs: being someone a brigade will follow, that is a leader.”

Chef Jasinski spent 11 years working with Wolfgang Puck in Los Angeles, helping develop, open, and create menus for more than 20 of his restaurants. She moved to Denver in 2000 and opened her first restaurant, Rioja, four years later. Today her restaurants—Rioja, Bistro Vendôme, Euclid Hall Bar & Kitchen, Stoic & Genuine, and Ultreia—employ 300 people and are consistently rated among Denver’s best restaurants.

In addition to her James Beard Award, Chef Jasinski has been honored as both the Colorado Chef of the Year and Western Region Chef of the Year by the American Culinary Federation, named one of America’s Best Female Chefs by Thrillist, and included as a member of the Restaurant Business Power 20 list.

The author of the cookbook The Perfect Bite, Chef Jasinski was a finalist on the Bravo cooking competition Top Chef Masters in 2013.

The entire CIA commencement ceremony, including Chef Jasinski’s address, can be seen online.

Photo Caption & Hi-Res Image:

Jennifer Jasinski ’89 with the graduating class of The Culinary Institute of America on June 14, 2019. Chef Jasinski delivered the commencement keynote address at the CIA’s New York campus. (Photo credit: Al Nowak/CIA)
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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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