Culinary News from The Culinary Institute of America

The Melt CEO Jonathan Kaplan Tells Graduates at The Culinary Institute of America to “Dream Big”

St. Helena, CA – Jonathan Kaplan, founder and CEO of The Melt, delivered the commencement address at The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in St. Helena, CA on April 15, where he advised associate degree recipients to set their career goals high.

The Melt is a group of fast casual restaurants focused around the classic grilled cheese and soup combination. The San Francisco-based chain has a two-pronged mission of providing better food for kids and creating jobs. Since its creation in 2011, The Melt has grown to 18 units in California and Colorado.

“You’ve learned to work hard and you’ve learned how to create,” Mr. Kaplan told 46 graduates earning degrees in Culinary Arts and Baking & Pastry Arts. “I bet each of you can make most anything taste good. You’re off to a great start. But regardless of your career plan, always dream big.”

Before founding The Melt, Kaplan was founder and CEO of Pure Digital Technologies, maker of the Flip Video camera. In the wake of that success, Businessweek magazine recognized him as one of the Most Influential People on the Web and Ernst & Young named him as its Northern California Entrepreneur of the Year.

Photo Captions and Hi-Res Image:

Graduates of the California campus of The Culinary Institute of America celebrate by tossing their toques at the conclusion of the commencement ceremony on April 15, 2016. (Photo credit: Kristen Loken/CIA)
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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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