Culinary News from The Culinary Institute of America

Three-Time Beard Semifinalist Delivers CIA Commencement Address

Hyde Park, NY – Nicholas Elmi, chef and owner of the acclaimed Restaurant Laurel in Philadelphia, spoke to the graduating class of The Culinary Institute of America at the college’s New York campus on March 3. He was recently announced as a 2017 James Beard Foundation Award semifinalist for Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic. He was a semifinalist for the same award in 2015 and Laurel was a semifinalist for Best New Restaurant in 2014.

Since its 2013 opening, accolades have been pouring in for Laurel. In addition to the recognition from the James Beard Foundation, it made GQ’s 25 Most Outstanding Restaurants and Philadelphia magazine’s Best Restaurants lists and earned four “bells” in a Philadelphia Inquirer review by legendary critic Craig Laban.

Next door to Laurel, in the city’s East Passyunk Avenue “foodie” district, the 2002 CIA graduate opened a second restaurant: ITV (In the Valley) Wine and Cocktail Bar. He is also developing a Mediterranean bar and grill concept to open in the Philadelphia International Airport.

Between running his restaurants and supporting organizations such as the March of Dimes, Parkinson Council, and Philadelphia Animal Welfare Society (PAWS), Chef Elmi found time to compete on Top Chef. In 2013, he beat 18 competitors to win the 11th season of Bravo’s highly rated cooking competition show.

Chef Elmi spoke to 62 recipients of CIA associate degrees in culinary arts and baking and pastry arts. The entire graduation ceremony can be seen online.

Photo Caption and Hi-Res Image:

Nicholas Elmi ’02 with the newest graduates of The Culinary Institute of America. Chef Elmi, chef/owner of Philadelphia’s Restaurant Laurel, delivered the commencement address at the CIA’s New York campus on March 3, 2017. (Photo credit: CIA/Phil Mansfield)
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Jeff Levine
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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 bachelor’s degree majors in management, culinary science, and applied food studies; associate degrees in culinary arts and baking and pastry arts; and executive education through its Food Business School. The college also offers certificate programs and courses for professionals and enthusiasts. Its conferences and consulting services have made the CIA the think tank of the food industry and its worldwide network of 49,000 alumni includes innovators in every area of the food business. The CIA has campuses in New York, California, Texas, and Singapore.

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